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Mayo Clinic study reveals common reasons for doctor's visits

January 25, 2013

Visits to the doctor can sometimes pose a serious threat to senior health. Though most will return home healthier than ever, some visits may present seniors with greater challenges. A recent analysis from the Mayo Clinic sheds some light on what the most common reasons for doctor visits are, offering senior health experts the chance to better tailor their care.

The study was focused on an analysis of more than 140,000 people who visited health care providers over a four-year period. Though skin disorders were the most common reason individuals headed to the doctor, more senior-specific conditions, such as joint disorders and back pain, were also among the top causes for such trips. Researchers say that a better understanding of these non-chronic conditions may help some seniors enjoy healthy aging.

"Much research already has focused on chronic conditions, which account for the majority of health care utilization and costs in middle-aged and older adults," said primary study author Jennifer St. Sauver. "We were interested in finding out about other types of conditions that may affect large segments of the population across all age groups."

The results highlight the fact that joint issues and back pain could negatively impact seniors who have placed an emphasis on staying active during retirement. Luckily, there are a number of ways for seniors to manage joint pain without visiting the doctor, according to WebMD. In addition to common medications, there are other natural remedies. For instance, capsaicin, a topical agent, has shown promise in reducing joint pain because it blocks chemicals associated with discomfort. Physical therapy is also recognized as an effective remedy, with activities such as swimming and biking proving to be particularly effective.