Chronic Pain – A Disease of It’s Own

The Chronic Pain Association of Canada is making gains to have Chronic Pain recognized as a disease it its own right in order to raise awareness and funding for research.  According to The Pain Society of Alberta, chronic pain is the most common reason for patients to see their doctor and the direct and indirect cost of chronic pain for Canadians is well over 40 billion dollars.

The Statistics Canada’s National Health Survey found that the likelihood of experiencing chronic pain (lasting more than 3 to 6 months) increases with age and an estimated quarter to three quarters of seniors suffer from pain which limits their mobility and dexterity.

Studies have shown that chronic pain threatens quality of life for many seniors who are already facing other physical and cognitive changes associated with aging.  Controlling pain is a priority for a growing senior population however many older adults believe pain is a natural part of aging that must be endured or are concerned their complaints will negatively affect their care.

Caregivers should be aware that patients who cannot verbally express their discomfort due to dementia can show signs of pain through facial expression, moaning, rubbing a painful spot or restricting activity.  Look for changes in behaviors which may offer a clue that a loved-one is enduring pain.

Suggestions for Management of Pain

  • Advocate for your own care or assign an advocate
  • Remember pain is not a normal part of aging
  • Try to be active in pain management strategies
  • Make an effort to participate in activities despite pain
  • Reduce stress
  • Participate in slow and steady physical activity

Chronic pain not only causes physical suffering but is also associated with overall unhappiness in seniors.  It also increases the risk of injury.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic pain has been found to increase the risk of falls in adults over 70 by as much at 77 per cent, especially in the case of joint pain.

For more information about Chronic Pain and for support information in your community, visit The Chronic Pain Association of Canada at .  To better understand Chronic Pain, watch this Ted video on the Mystery of Chronic Pain by Elliot Krane :