Talk to anybody older than you and sooner or later, they’ll tell you all about their aches and pains. Their stories serve as a friendly warning of what you have to look forward to as you get older. Everybody seems to believe that as we get older, more aches and pains seem to creep into the picture, but is it actually true?

As it turns out, unfortunately, it is.  A new study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control reveals that more than fifty million older adults experience chronic pain every year.  The aches and pains stem from a variety of common sources.

The sources include, but are not limited to:

  • Stiffening joints
  • Arthritis
  • Longer recovery times from common injuries like slips and falls
  • Longer recovery times from surgeries
  • Cancer

This is just a basic list.  To make matters worse, a significant percentage of older people (40 percent!) do not receive timely or adequate treatment or care for the pains they suffer.

A related study conducted by researchers at the Translational Research Institute for Pain in Later Life at Cornell University did an in-depth review of nearly a hundred separate studies that evaluated a wide range of pain management treatments for the elderly.

This study revealed several intriguing findings, including:

  • Older patients tend to view pain treatments as a form of weakness, and conversely view tolerating pain as a sign of strength and resiliency. As such, many are simply less likely to seek treatment at all.
  • Patients are significantly less likely to seek treatment if they don’t have a close, trusting relationship with their doctor.
  • Patients who suffer from any form of cognitive or sensory impairment may not be able to accurately describe the pain they are feeling to their caregivers.
  • Older adults simply don’t absorb medicines as well as younger folks, and their bodies are less capable of flushing toxins from their systems.

The bottom line here is two-fold.  First, yes, more aches and pains can be expected as we age. Second, is that although there are certainly challenges with regards to treating aches and pains as we get older, such treatment is possible with proper care and good communication with your doctor.