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      Prevalence and intensity of chronic pain and self-perceived health among elderly people: a population-based study 1

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          to identify the prevalence and intensity of chronic pain among elderly people of the community and to analyze associations with the self-perceived health status.


          cross-sectional study with a populational sample (n=934), conducted through household interviews in the city of Goiânia, Brazil. The intensity of chronic pain (existing for 6 months or more) was measured using a numerical scale (0-10) and the self-perceived health through a verbal scale (very good, good, fair, poor, very poor). For the statistical analysis, the absolute frequency and percentage, CI (95%), Chi-square test, Odds ratio, and regression analysis were used. Significance of 5%.


          The prevalence of chronic pain was 52.8% [CI (95%):49.4-56.1]; most frequently located in the lower limbs (34.5%) and lumbar region (29.5%); with high or the worst possible intensity for 54.6% of the elderly people. The occurrence of chronic pain was associated with (p<0.0001) a worse self-perception of health (OR=4.2:2.5-7.0), a greater number of chronic diseases (OR=1.8:1.2-2.7), joint disease (OR=3.5:2.4-5.1) and the female gender (OR=2.3:1.7-3.0). A lower intensity of chronic pain was associated with a better self-perception of health (p<0.0001).


          the majority of the elderly people of the community reported chronic pain, of a severe intensity, and located in areas related to movement activities, thus influencing the morbidity and mortality of this population.

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          Most cited references 54

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          Chronic pain and poor self-rated health.

          Chronic pain is common in Western societies. Self-rated health is an important indicator of morbidity and mortality, but little is known about the relation between chronic pain and self-rated health in the general population. To analyze the association between chronic pain and self-rated health. A questionnaire survey carried out during the spring of 2002 of an age- and sex-stratified population sample of 6500 individuals in Finland aged 15 to 74 years, with a response rate of 71% (N = 4542) after exclusion of those with unobtainable data (n = 38). Chronic pain was defined as pain with a duration of at least 3 months and was graded by frequency: (1) at most once a week; (2) several times a week; and (3) daily or continuously. On the basis of a 5-item questionnaire on self-rated health, individuals were classified as having good, moderate, or poor health. Multinominal logistic regression analysis was used to assess the determinants of health. Analysis included sex, age, education, working status, chronic diseases, and mood. Perceived chronic pain graded by frequency and self-rated health status. The prevalence of any chronic pain was 35.1%; that of daily chronic pain, 14.3%. The prevalence of moderate self-rated health was 26.6% and of poor health, 7.6%. For moderate self-rated health among individuals having chronic pain at most once a week compared with individuals having no chronic pain, the adjusted odds were 1.36 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.76); several times a week, 2.41 (95% CI, 1.94-3.00); and daily, 3.69 (95% CI, 2.97-4.59). Odds for poor self-rated health were as follows: having chronic pain at most once a week, 1.16 (95% CI, 0.65-2.07); several times a week, 2.62 (95% CI, 1.76-3.90); and daily, 11.82 (95% CI, 8.67-16.10). Chronic pain is independently related to low self-rated health in the general population.
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            Pain in older adults: a prevalence study in the Mediterranean region of Catalonia.

            Although information is available about the prevalence of pain in older adults in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries, very little is known about older adults in other parts of the world. This study reports the prevalence of pain in a randomly selected sample of older adults living in the Mediterranean region of Catalonia. Besides studying the existence of pain at the time of interview, the authors investigated several characteristics of the participants' pain experience: pain onset, number and location of pain sites, intensity of pain, number of days in pain, severity of pain, the extent to which pain interfered with daily life, and expressed needs in relation to pain. A cross-sectional survey was conducted of adults aged 65 years and over living in Catalonia. A total of 592 individuals participated in the study, and data was collected through personal interviews with participants. The prevalence of any pain was 73.5%, and similar across age groups but higher in females than in males. Among individuals suffering from pain, 94.2 were experiencing chronic pain (i.e., pain of three months' duration or more). The mean number of painful areas (out of 10) was 4.48. No clear pattern of the prevalence of regional pain was observed, although joints were the most frequently reported painful place. Pain interfered in the life of a considerable number of participants (35.5%), but no differences in the level of expressed needs was detected between those that were affected and those that were not. This study provides new evidence that pain is an important problem for the older adult, one that severely impacts on their health status, causing disability and reduced ability to function, particularly in older women.
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              Pain measurement in the elderly: a review.

               C Antona (2001)
              Measurement of pain in the elderly is an issue that has received limited attention. The purpose of this review was to analyze and synthesize research findings from 1975 to 1999 that are related to pain measurement in the elderly. Based on best-evidence synthesis criteria, the review led to the selection of 15 studies. These studies used a descriptive and quantitative analytic approach and were not based on a theoretical framework. Comparison of selected pain measurement tools was incorporated in 40% of the included studies. Substantial gaps in knowledge were identified; namely, these included determining the reliability and validity of selected tools for the institutionalized or community-dwelling elder; modifying instruments to overcome barriers such as communication issues, cultural diversity, or cognitive dysfunction; and expanding the scope of pain measurement to other dimensions of the pain experience.

                Author and article information

                Rev Lat Am Enfermagem
                Rev Lat Am Enfermagem
                Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem
                Escola de Enfermagem de Ribeirão Preto / Universidade de São Paulo
                Jul-Aug 2014
                : 22
                : 4
                : 662-669
                [2 ] PhD, Adjunct Professor, Faculdade de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
                [3 ] MSc, RN
                [4 ] MSc, RN, Hospital das Clínicas, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil. RN, Secretaria Municipal de Saúde, Prefeitura de Goiânia, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
                [5 ] PhD, Adjunct Professor, Departamento de Enfermagem em Educação e Saúde Comunitária, Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba, MG, Brazil
                [6 ] PhD, Associate Professor, Faculdade de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
                [7 ] PhD, Full Professor, Faculdade de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Lilian Varanda Pereira Universidade Federal de Goiás. Faculdade de Enfermagem e Nutrição Rua 227, Qd. 68, s/n Setor Leste Universitário CEP: 74605-080, Goiânia, GO, Brasil E-mail: lilianvaranda7@

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, References: 25, Pages: 8
                Original Articles

                aged, pain measurement, chronic pain, self-assessment


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