Older Americans are more likely to fall when dealing with chronic pain, according to recent findings that suggest that chronic pain is more than just a part of aging and ultimately plays a significant role in why such accidents occur.
As detailed in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a new study initially surveyed 749 seniors, aged 70 and over, on whether they were suffering from any chronic pain and then required them to keep records of each time they fell during the following 18 months.
Chronic pain in more than one joint was prevalent in 40 percent of patients at the start of the study, while 24 percent of patients reported chronic pain in one joint. Approximately 1,029 falls were recorded by the end of the study, with 55 percent of the participants falling at least once.
According to the study’s findings, older Americans with pain in more than one joint were more likely to fall than participants with minimal or no chronic pain.
Furthermore, seniors with severe and limiting chronic pain were also more likely to fall, with the study finding that participants who dealt with chronic pain for one month were 77 percent more likely to fall the following month.
Given these findings and the fact that falling is highly prevalent and dangerous in the older population, the study’s researchers noted the importance of not only further understanding the neuromuscular effects of pain on muscle strength and balance but continuing to develop programs that reduce falls among seniors.