12 August 2010

Getting old doesn't have to hurt

Aches and pains are an inevitable part of getting older, right?

Aches and pains are an inevitable part of getting older, right?

The guidelines were first developed in 1998 to help ensure that older people received effective pain management that would let them maintain their dignity and overall quality of life.

  • All older patients should be asked if they are in pain. If they have pain, doctors need to take the time to accurately assess the pain.
  • For people who are cognitively impaired, like Alzheimer's patients, doctors should interview their caregivers about any possible pain the patient might be feeling.
  • Treatment should be as simple as possible.
  • Placebos should never be given to patients.
  • Acetaminophen should generally be the first drug tried for pain.
  • Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories should be avoided for people who need long-term therapy, in favour of prescription anti-inflammatory medications, which appear to have fewer adverse side effects.
  • Patient and caregiver education in pain management is essential.
  • Exercise should be encouraged to increase flexibility and strength.


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