Do older adults experience harsher pain? 5 observations

Written by Megan Wood | May 05, 2016 | Print  |

Older adults may be more sensitive to pain, based on a new Gainesville-based University of Florida Health study, according to Science Codex.

Researchers examined eight healthy adults with an average age of 68 years and nine healthy adults with an average age of 21 years. Each adult rated their pain on a scale from one to 10. Researchers studied blood inflammation via a catheter inserted before the induced pain and during the pain.


Experimental Gerontology published the study.


Here are five observations:


1. The study found older adults experience inflammation more quickly and at a higher severity than inflammation in younger adults.


2. When researchers induced pain in older adults, proteins associated with inflammation became more prevalent and stuck around longer.


3. The study also discovered anti-inflammatory cytokines peak later in older adults compared to younger adults.


4. This enhanced inflammatory response causes older adults to feel more pain in the tissue and limbs outside of the spinal cord and brain.


5. Researchers suggested older adults may be at a higher risk of developing chronic pain. They recommend older adults immediately take anti-inflammatory medication following an injury or operation.


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