Little research, in regard to chronic pain and pain management, is done on the elderly population due to a lack of interest on the natural decline that accompanies old age and the end stages of life. Our elderly population has multiple medical conditions that can cause and contribute to chronic pain. The conventional treatment, of chronic pain in the elderly, often includes such interventions as medications, moist heat and physical therapy. This approach produces a less than desirable effect because of the side effects produced by mixing life supporting medications with pain medications. Physical therapy treatments are often limited due to cost factors although the conditions, which warrant PT, are often chronic and long term. Being institutionalized, as in a nursing home, increases the moribund effect on the elderly population and the need for special consideration. Using more traditional (sometimes labeled complementary or alternative) approaches to pain management and the treatment of chronic pain must be explored to maximize the quality of life in the elderly and to minimize complications from drug reactions as well.
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