Drug-free treatments offer hope for older people in pain

September 10, 2007

Mind-body therapies, which focus on the interactions between the mind, body and behavior, and the ways in which emotional, mental, social and behavioral factors can affect health, may be of particular benefit to elderly chronic pain sufferers. A new study published in Pain Medicine provides a structured review of eight mind-body interventions for older people, including progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, tai chi and yoga.

All eight treatments were found to be feasible for older adults, and no adverse events or safety issues were reported. The article finds evidence that, in particular, progressive muscle relaxation may be effective for older people with osteoarthritis pain, while meditation and tai chi appear to improve function and coping with low back pain and osteoarthritis.

Chronic pain is common among older people. Sufferers are often unable to receive adequate treatment because of limited physician training in pain management for the elderly and the increased likelihood of side effects from pain medication.

“The trials we reviewed indicated that mind–body therapies were especially well suited to the older adult with chronic pain,” concludes lead author Natalia E. Morone, M.D., MSc. “This was because of their gentle approach, which made them suitable for even the frail older adult. Additionally, their positive emphasis on self-exploration was a potential remedy for the heavy emotional, psychological and social burden that is a hallmark of chronic pain.”

Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Explore further: Botox for wrinkles: Is it safe?

Related Stories

Botox for wrinkles: Is it safe?

October 4, 2016

Dear Mayo Clinic: Does Botox work on deep forehead wrinkles, or do you have to catch them early for it to make a big difference? Is long-term use safe? What happens if I have the injections regularly for a few years, but ...

Do opioids make pain worse?

July 29, 2016

The opium poppy is arguably the oldest painkiller known to man, with its use being described by the ancient civilizations. Opium mimics the body's home-made painkillers—endorphins and the like—and has given rise to the ...

Human neuron transplants treat spinal cord injury in mice

September 23, 2016

Chronic pain and loss of bladder control are among the most devastating consequences of spinal cord injury, rated by many patients as a higher priority for treatment than paralysis or numbness. Now a UC San Francisco team ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.