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Pain – it puts years on you!

Issue 28 Synovium (Autumn 2009)

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We have previously reported evidence indicating that patients with chronic pain have increased risk of mortality with increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. It gets worse. In the University of California's cross-sectional Health and Retirement Study,1 18,531 participants aged between 50 and 89 were assessed for reporting of 'significant pain' and functional abilities, the later including walking, jogging, stair-climbing and activities of daily living. Significant pain was defined as 'pain that was moderate or severe most of the time and that often troubled the person reporting the pain'. After adjusting for co-morbidities and other confounders, subjects aged 50–59 who reported having significant pain were functioning at a level equivalent to subjects aged 80–89 who reported no pain.The authors could not determine that pain led to disability or that disability led to pain. They speculated that both interacted in a downward spiral and that the two problems could not be viewed and addressed as separate processes. Here is more evidence to support multidisciplinary interventions for chronic pain.

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