Chronic Pain in Older Adults

Mark C. Bicket, Jianren Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This review summarizes existing evidence relevant to the epidemiology of chronic pain in older adults, age-related differences relevant to pain, pain assessment, and important considerations regarding pain management in later life. Features unique to pain assessment in older adults include the likelihood of multiple diagnoses contributing to chronic pain, the ability of older adults to self-report, including those with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, and recognition that some older adults with cognitive impairment may demonstrate various behaviors to communicate pain. Management is best accomplished through a multimodal approach, including pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments, physical rehabilitation, and psychological therapies. Interventional pain therapies may be appropriate in select older adults, which may reduce the need for pharmacologic treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-590
Number of pages14
JournalAnesthesiology clinics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Chronic pain
  • Geriatrics
  • Older adults
  • Pain clinics
  • Pain management
  • Persistent pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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