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Clinical Journal of Pain:
doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000089
Original Articles

Persistence of Noncancer-related Musculoskeletal Chronic Pain Among Community-dwelling Older People: A Population-based Longitudinal Study in Finland

Karttunen, Niina M. MSc (Pharm)*,†; Turunen, Juha H. O. PhD (Pharm); Ahonen, Riitta S. PhD§; Hartikainen, Sirpa A. PhD*,†

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Abstract

Objective: To determine the persistence of chronic pain among community-dwelling older persons and to identify factors related to persistent chronic pain.

Methods: In this prospective longitudinal study, a random sample of Finnish community-dwelling people aged 76 years and older (n=256) were interviewed annually by a trained nurse at 3 time points. Data on prevalence, duration, location, and intensity of musculoskeletal pain, analgesic use, demographics, and health characteristics were collected during the interviews.

Results: Chronic pain was reported by 48.9% of the participants at baseline, with 74.4% of them experiencing persistent chronic pain, that is, they reported chronic pain at all 3 study points. Persistent chronic pain was associated with poor self-rated health (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.26, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.03-4.98), mobility difficulties (AOR=2.80, 95% CI, 1.22-6.43), and arthrosis or rheumatoid arthritis (AOR=3.07, 95% CI, 1.47-6.42) when compared with persons without chronic pain. However, only 15% of the persons with persistent chronic pain were using analgesics on a regular basis, and one out of every 5 was not taking any analgesics.

Conclusions: Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a highly persistent condition among community-dwelling older persons and it is related to poor health and mobility difficulties. In addition, the use of daily analgesic is low despite the continuous nature of chronic pain.

© 2015 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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