Health risk appraisal in older people 3: prevalence, impact, and context of pain and their implications for GPs

Carmaciu, Claudia; Iliffe, Steve; Kharicha, Kalpa; Harari, Danielle; Swift, Cameron; Gillmann, Gerhard; Stuck, Andreas E (2007). Health risk appraisal in older people 3: prevalence, impact, and context of pain and their implications for GPs. British journal of general practice, 57(541), pp. 630-635. London: Royal College of General Practitioners

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BACKGROUND: Pain is a common experience in later life. There is conflicting evidence of the prevalence, impact, and context of pain in older people. GPs are criticised for underestimating and under-treating pain. AIM: To assess the extent to which older people experience pain, and to explore relationships between self-reported pain and functional ability and depression. DESIGN OF STUDY: Secondary analysis of baseline data from a randomised controlled trial of health risk appraisal. SETTING: A total of 1090 community-dwelling non-disabled people aged 65 years and over were included in the study from three group practices in suburban London. METHOD: Main outcome measures were pain in the last 4 weeks and the impact of pain, measured using the 24-item Geriatric Pain Measure; depression symptoms captured using the 5-item Mental Health Inventory; social relationships measured using the 6-item Lubben Social Network Scale; Basic and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and self-reported symptoms. RESULTS: Forty-five per cent of women and 34% of men reported pain in the previous 4 weeks. Pain experience appeared to be less in the 'oldest old': 27.5% of those aged 85 years and over reported pain compared with 38-53% of the 'younger old'. Those with arthritis were four times more likely to report pain. Pain had a profound impact on activities of daily living, but most of those reporting pain described their health as good or excellent. Although there was a significant association between the experience of pain and depressed mood, the majority of those reporting pain did not have depressed mood. CONCLUSION: A multidimensional approach to assessing pain is appropriate. Primary care practitioners should also assess the impact of pain on activities of daily living.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Geriatric Clinic

UniBE Contributor:

Gillmann, Gerhard and Stuck, Andreas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






Royal College of General Practitioners




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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:53

Last Modified:

19 Jan 2015 09:46

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URI: (FactScience: 35702)

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