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Many seniors report bothersome pain, study says

May 20, 2013

Nagging pain can make independent living difficult for seniors, and, according to recent findings from the University of Washington, that appears to be the case for many older adults. Drawing on statistics from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study, researchers found that more than 52 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 69 experienced some form of bothersome pain in the month prior, reports MedPage Today.

The study was based on interviews with more than 7,000 seniors, and while the number of respondents who reported bothersome pain was surprising, researchers were more concerned with the effects it had on their everyday lives. For instance, three-quarters of those who experienced pain said it was present in more than one place and they encountered troubles with activities of daily living and mobility.

"Pain has a lot of functional significance for these people in terms of being able to walk, in being able to get up and down, and in being able to grasp things," Mark Sullivan, who was not involved with the study, told MedPage Today. "So these are pretty significant."

Whether their pain is caused by arthritis, surgery or a chronic health condition, seniors have a variety of options available for managing their discomfort. There are a number of pharmaceutical options available, but there are also more alternative routes to take. Physical therapy such as weight training, stretching and yoga can have a positive impact. The American Physical Therapy Association says that such treatments can not only reduce pain in seniors, but also improve strength, range of motion and balance, all of which are important for maintaining an independent lifestyle, according to WebMD.