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12/01/2009 - News

Chronic Pain Increases Risk of Falls

By: June Chen, MD

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Chronic pain is a major contributor to disability among older adults, but it is not really known what role chronic pain plays in the risk for falls. In the November 25, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists report that chronic pain is associated with a higher risk of falls in older adults.

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass. and their colleagues studied 749 community-living adults aged 70 years and older in order to determine whether chronic pain was associated with an increased occurrence of falls. In the follow-up period from September 2005 through January 2008, a total of 1029 falls were reported. The researchers found that study participants who reported chronic pain from two or more parts of the body had a higher risk of falls. Not surprisingly, more severe or disabling chronic pain was associated with a higher rate of falls, even when other fall risk factors were taken into account.

This study highlights the importance of fall awareness and fall prevention among older adults with chronic pain, especially among those who have multiple sites of chronic pain.

Source:

JAMA 2009;302(20):2214-2221. jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/302/20/2214

 

Created on: 12/01/2009
Reviewed on: 12/01/2009

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