Pain in the elderly is common but it is treatable. Geriatric pain can be managed with the same interventions used in younger adults. However, special care often needs to be taken as there can be a higher risk of side effects.
Some people believe pain is just a normal part of the ageing process, but pain is never inevitable. It is important for doctors, family members and carers to be aware of signs of pain in the elderly in order to prevent undertreatment.
The treatment of pain in the elderly needs to be a holistic process, taking into account the mental and social effects of pain in old age. Pain can leave older people feeling anxious, depressed and isolated. It can limit function and exacerbate the effects of any underlying illnesses. A holistic approach that uses exercise, physiotherapy and acupuncture alongside medication can tackle all these effects while minimising the risk of side effects.
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