Jacqueline Gardner-Nix, MBBS, PhD, MRCP(UK), Assistant Professor, Department of Anaesthesia, University of Toronto; Chronic Pain Consultant, Sunnybrook & Womens College Health Sciences Centre; St. Michaels Hospital Pain Clinic, Department of Anaesthesia, Toronto, ON.
Older adults pose additional challenges in pain management when noncancer pain has become chronic. Health care professionals are increasingly aware of the effect of past and current life stressors on the pain experience, and the roles of gender, genetics and culture. Reduced activity as individuals age often amplifies the disabling effects of pain. Pain medications are more problematic in this age group due to many factors, including polypharmacy, comorbidities and reduced renal function. However, judicious use of opioid analgesics in a subset of the population may allow increased function and access to activities, which become part of their pain management.
Key words: older adults, opioids, pain management, noncancer pain, holistic.