Pain Tolerance Improves With Age

Researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of South Florida say that older people are better at tolerating chronic pain than young adults. Subjects of the study included nearly 6,000 adults. It found that the subjects under the age of 50 were less able to cope with chronic pain. The participants over 50 were less inclined to suffer from depression associated with chronic pain than those under the age of 50. The findings appear in a special January (2005) issue of Pain Medicine.

“Older people may feel that pain is just something that you deal with, perhaps because they were raised in a time when pain was not addressed in the way we deal with it today, or because they feel that pain is just a normal part of getting older. But younger people, who may be dealing with job and family stress in addition to their pain, may experience more negative effects. They may also have different expectations about pain treatment and about experiencing chronic pain at a relatively young age. This is particularly important because the prevalence of chronic pain is increasing,” according to study senior author Dr. Carmen R. Green, a University of Michigan pain specialist.

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