Pain Hastens Death of Older Adults

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    Mar 03, 2014 7:00 PM GMT
    Studies have found that elderly patients are less likely than younger adults to report pain to their doctors. Instead, many suffer in silence at considerable cost to the quality of their lives.

    “The good news is that older people cope better with pain, but the bad news is that they cope by decreasing function and accepting pain as a consequence of aging,” wrote Dr. Bruce A. Ferrell, a geriatrician at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his co-authors in Primary Issues, a website for primary care doctors.

    “Unfortunately, this may lead to a vicious cycle of declining functional status, worsening overall health, and neglect of remedial and treatable conditions, and ultimately resulting in needless suffering,” they added.

    Untreated or inadequately treated pain is disabling and can hasten the death of an older adult by interfering with the ability to exercise, eat properly or maintain social contacts. Persistent pain can lead to immobility, depression, sleep problems, loss of appetite and isolation, all of which may increase the need for expensive medical care.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/the-perils-of-toughing-it-out/?hpw&rref=health
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    Mar 03, 2014 9:18 PM GMT
    Pain Hastens Death of Older Adults

    Damn, then I'm a gonner! icon_sad.gif
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    Mar 04, 2014 12:37 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    woodsmen said
    Untreated or inadequately treated pain is disabling and can hasten the death of an older adult by interfering with the ability to exercise, eat properly or maintain social contacts. Persistent pain can lead to immobility, depression, sleep problems, loss of appetite and isolation, all of which may increase the need for expensive medical care.

    That's why it's important to see the doctor at the first sign of something that isn't quite right.

    I think we're talking 2 different things here. The article is about chronic disabling & limiting pain, like arthritis. You may be talking about sudden undiagnosed pain, when there's a change.

    The latter is the kind of pain that put our best friend in the ER last week, that I wrote about in a thread here. He was having a heart attack, and is still in the hospital after a quadruple bypass. Or the pain my husband had, that likewise resulted in a triple bypass 11 months ago. Fortunately both of them (aided by their partners) didn't ignore this abnormal pain, and took the correct actions in time.

    But pain like mine is constant, it never stops, nor will it likely. It limits my activity level, in terms of flexibility & mobility. Nothing much can be done, I have to live with it. And I've written here before how it limits my exercise, how much I can physically do. That's the kind of pain I believe this article is addressing, that may be indirectly reducing my life span.

    You point is valid, but in a different context, for different conditions.
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    Mar 04, 2014 1:47 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Ah, ok, I see your point.

    I was thinking about this annoying "tennis elbow" type of pain I've had for at least 2 or 3 months now. It's somewhat limiting in terms of just doing general toning weight lifting and I was thinking that it might actually be detrimental in the long run if people have similar pain but in areas like the lower back or the legs, that it would limit the kind of exercises they do and thus cause them not to be as fit as they might be if they had the pain dealt with. Anyway, that's how I interpreted the topic.

    As for you, I'm sorry you're having to deal with chronic pain - I presume the doctors have tried figuring out a way to lessen it but come up empty?

    Lessen -yes; cure - no. I have extensive arthritis, and degenerative disc disease in the lower spine. You'd be surprised how every kind of exercise involves that area, so that when it flares up how little of anything you can do.

    The VA gave me spinal injections, until they no longer were effective. Their last recommendation was to pin several of the vertibra, which I rejected.

    They also wanted to pin both my big toes for gouty arthritis. My knees both need total replacement, and it looks like one of my hip joints may be close behind. I'll consider those options once I'm actually in a wheelchair and want to get out.

    As for pain management, I just take simple ibuprofen, and only as needed, so as not to lose the efficacy, and due to side effects of regular usage. They'll give me all the "good" stuff (narcotics) I want, but I don't want it, except when in extreme immobilizing pain, only a few times a year.

    Oddly, what really helped my back was my epilepsy diagnosis in 1999. Following unsuccessful attempts with other meds, we tried Tegretol. After a month I saw the VA neurologist and said the epilepsy was under control, but I also noticed a major lessening of my back pain, first time in years.

    He said Tegretol was also approved for facial neuralgia, a nerve problem. It wasn't clinically approved to prescribe for pinched nerves in the back like I had, but he speculated my back was indeed benefiting. And if Tegretol was doing that, I was just lucky to have epilepsy, too. About the only reason I'd think epilepsy was a plus! LOL!
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    Mar 04, 2014 11:14 PM GMT
    Damn, I've dealt with frequent, intense lower back pain from a torn disc since I was 15 years old. I've had many many days where the pain was so bad I had tears in my eyes. I should be dead!
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    Mar 05, 2014 1:20 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    The lower back is probably one of the worst places to have pain, as so many exercises touch on that area one way or another. But very interesting about the Tegretol. Thanks for sharing that.

    Not sure if that info is of any value, nor am I promoting Tegretol for others. First, my personal experience is anecdotal, not clinical, and may not apply to others. Second, my neurologist told me Tegretol was NOT FDA approved for back pain. I get it for my epilepsy, not my back, which just happens to appear to benefit in my case.

    So that a doctor cannot legally prescribe Tegretol for the back alone. Its uses are for epilepsy and facial neuralgia. But maybe that's changed over the years since I was told that, so I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask a doctor about current Tegretol approved uses.
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    Mar 05, 2014 1:38 PM GMT
    Scruffypup saidDamn, I've dealt with frequent, intense lower back pain from a torn disc since I was 15 years old. I've had many many days where the pain was so bad I had tears in my eyes. I should be dead!

    When my back goes out it's often instanteous. I'll unexpectedly drop to the floor like somebody has hit me with a club, and sometimes lay there for 30 minutes, unable to even crawl, totally immobilized in great pain.

    And then I'm confined to bed for 3 days, flat on my back, taking narcotic pain meds and muscle relaxants. It takes my husband to help me get out of bed to use the bathroom, I can't get up myself. Not fun.

    But as I wrote about the Tegretol, beginning in 2000 it had greatly reduced those incidents. So that I was able to ride a motorcycle, and also a bicycle 165 miles to Key West.

    It doesn't seem to make sense I can do those things, and I conceal it from my doctors, who don't want me riding anything. I don't want the hassle of their lectures.

    Whatever the problem in my spine is, leaning forward like on a sport motorcycle or a road bicycle doesn't bother me as much. It's a CAR seat that kills me on longer trips, no matter how I adjust it. And riding in a back seat for more than a few miles can be agony. I guess it's the way the discs compress and pinch the nerves.
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    Mar 05, 2014 5:58 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    Scruffypup saidDamn, I've dealt with frequent, intense lower back pain from a torn disc since I was 15 years old. I've had many many days where the pain was so bad I had tears in my eyes. I should be dead!

    When my back goes out it's often instanteous. I'll unexpectedly drop to the floor like somebody has hit me with a club, and sometimes lay there for 30 minutes, unable to even crawl, totally immobilized in great pain.

    And then I'm confined to bed for 3 days, flat on my back, taking narcotic pain meds and muscle relaxants. It takes my husband to help me get out of bed to use the bathroom, I can't get up myself. Not fun.

    But as I wrote about the Tegretol, beginning in 2000 it had greatly reduced those incidents. So that I was able to ride a motorcycle, and also a bicycle 165 miles to Key West.

    It doesn't seem to make sense I can do those things, and I conceal it from my doctors, who don't want me riding anything. I don't want the hassle of their lectures.

    Whatever the problem in my spine is, leaning forward like on a sport motorcycle or a road bicycle doesn't bother me as much. It's a CAR seat that kills me on longer trips, no matter how I adjust it. And riding in a back seat for more than a few miles can be agony. I guess it's the way the discs compress and pinch the nerves.


    Same here. One time my boyfriend threw me my car keys, and just the act of reaching forward to catch them made my back go out. He had to shoulder me to the chiropractor with me slumped over with my eyes looking directly at the ground. I don't have that problem anymore since I started doing squats and deadlifts. It's been several years now since my back went out like that. Wish I had known the cure sooner.