The Journal of Pain Summary
Highlight from The Journal of Pain (Volume 19, No. 12, December 2018 Issue)
Study Explores Ways to Prevent Chronic Pain in Seniors
Daisy Fancourt, Andrew Steptoe; Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Although there is little published research in chronic pain prevention, it is well known that up to two in three adults older than 50 years are affected by chronic pain. Pain is one of the most widely cited symptoms underlying disability in older adults and is linked with impaired daily living, poorer mobility, and falls.
Researchers from University College London explored longitudinal associations between physical and psychological activities and chronic pain incidence in older adults initially free of chronic pain. They considered that combinations of physical and psychosocial factors could be protective against the development of chronic pain in people of older age.
For physical activities, they focused on moderate to vigorous activity to ascertain whether there are specific benefits that are independent of sedentary lifestyle avoidance. For psychosocial factors, they probed whether social engagement and novel experiences could buffer perceptions of pain, foster mindfulness as a means of disengaging from cognitive fixation on pain, and broaden the scope of attention to encompass nonpainful stimuli.
Data were analyzed from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging with a representative sample of adults older than 50 years living in England. Pain was measured using self-report questions: “Are you often troubled with pain?” and “How bad is the pain most of the time?”
Results of the analysis showed that vigorous weekly activity and regular cultural engagement seem to reduce the risk for incidence of moderate to severe chronic pain and site-specific pain. These findings extend previous work showing that physical activity and psychosocial factors are key factors in the long-term success of chronic pain self-management.