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Chronic Pain Contributes to Risk of Falls

10 years, 7 months ago

2646  0
Posted on Dec 09, 2009, 6 a.m.

Among seniors, chronic musculoskeletal pain in more than one joint, severe pain, and pain that affects one’s  ability to perform everyday activities increases the likelihood of falls.

In that chronic pain is a major contributor to disability among seniors, Suzanne G. Leveille, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues investigated the potential role of chronic pain as a risk factor for falls.  Studying data collected on 749 adults, aged 70 years and older, enrolled in The Maintenance of Balance, Independent Living, Intellect, and Zest in the Elderly (MOBILIZE) Boston Study, the team tracked the numbers of falls incurred by the study participants during an 18-month period. With more than half of the study subjects reporting having fallen at least once during the study timeframe, the researchers found that those people who had pain in more than one joint were more likely to fall, compared with people who reported no pain or minimum pain.  In addition, severe pain and pain that affected subject’s ability to perform everyday activities also made falls more likely. The team concludes that: “Chronic pain measured according to number of locations, severity, or pain interference with daily activities was associated with greater risk of falls in older adults.”

Suzanne G. Leveille; Richard N. Jones; Dan K. Kiely; Jeffrey M. Hausdorff; Robert H. Shmerling; Jack M. Guralnik; Douglas P. Kiel; Lewis A. Lipsitz; Jonathan F. Bean.  “Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain and the Occurrence of Falls in an Older Population.”  JAMA, November 25, 2009; 302: 2214 - 2221.

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