Guidance on the management of pain in older people

British Pain Society and British Geriatrics Society

It is estimated that 10.8 million people in the UK are aged over 65 years. The prevalence of pain in this section of the population may be under-reported: this is partly due to stoic attitudes, and the belief that pain is a 'normal' part of the ageing process.

Pain is a risk factor for falls in older people. It is thought that 50% of older adults living in the community, and 80% of those living in care homes, experience chronic pain.

The bio-physiological changes that occur with ageing, the accumulation of co‑morbidities and co-prescription of medication, frailty, and psychosocial changes make older people rather different when considering treatment options for pain control.

This Guidelines summary covers pharmacological and interventional therapies, and the self-management of pain.

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