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Prevalence of different pain categories based on pain spreading on the bodies of older adults in Sweden: a descriptive-level and multilevel association with demographics, comorbidities, medications, and certain lifestyle factors (PainS65+)

Authors Dragioti E, Larsson B, Bernfort L, Levin LÅ, Gerdle B

Received 15 August 2016

Accepted for publication 5 October 2016

Published 30 November 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 1131—1141


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

E Dragioti,1 B Larsson,1 L Bernfort,2 LÅ Levin,2 B Gerdle1

1Pain and Rehabilitation Medicine, 2Division of Health Care Analysis, Department of Medical and Health Sciences (IMH), Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Background and objective: There is limited knowledge about the prevalence of pain and its relation to comorbidities, medication, and certain lifestyle factors in older adults. To address this limitation, this cross-sectional study examined the spreading of pain on the body in a sample of 6611 subjects ≥65 years old (mean age = 75.0 years; standard deviation [SD] = 7.7) living in southeastern Sweden.
Methods: Sex, age, comorbidities, medication, nicotine, alcohol intake, and physical activity were analyzed in relation to the following pain categories: local pain (LP) (24.1%), regional pain medium (RP-Medium) (20.3%), regional pain heavy (RP-Heavy) (5.2%), and widespread pain (WSP) (1.7%).
Results: RP-Medium, RP-Heavy, and WSP were associated more strongly with women than with men (all p<0.01). RP-Heavy was less likely in the 80–84 and >85 age groups compared to the 65–69 age group (both p<0.01). Traumatic injuries, rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis, and analgesics were associated with all pain categories (all p<0.001). An association with gastrointestinal disorders was found in LP, RP-Medium, and RP-Heavy (all p<0.01). Depressive disorders were associated with all pain categories, except for LP (all p<0.05). Disorders of the central nervous system were associated with both RP-Heavy and WSP (all p<0.05). Medication for peripheral vascular disorders was associated with RP-Medium (p<0.05), and hypnotics were associated with RP-Heavy (p<0.01).
Conclusion: More than 50% of older adults suffered from different pain spread categories. Women were more likely to experience greater spreading of pain than men. A noteworthy number of common comorbidities and medications were associated with increased likelihood of pain spread from LP to RP-Medium, RP-Heavy, and WSP. Effective management plans should consider these observed associations to improve functional deficiency and decrease spreading of pain-related disability in older adults.

Keywords: pain spreading, chronic pain, older adults, aging, medication, comorbidity

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