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Pain Suffered by Aging Adults is Topic for New Publication

One thing that does not increase your pain - this magazine is free

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Magazine on pain published in 2011 by MedlinePlus

NIH MedlinePlus - Published this special in 2011

More about pain

NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, Spring 2011: Special Section on Managing Chronic Pain. Download a printable PDF of this issue.

MedlinePlus: Visit and enter “pain” in the Search box.

Clinical Trials: To get information on taking part in clinical research about chronic pain, visit

NIH Clinical Center: For more about clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center, go to Or call 1-866-999-1112 (TTY 1-866-411-1010).

Communication with your caregiver or care team is the best way to help you manage or end your chronic pain.

> What is causing my pain? What can I do about it?

> What is the name of the pain medicine I will be taking?

> How long will it take for the medicine to work?

> What side effects should I expect?

> If I forget to take the pain medicine, what should I do?

> When should I take the pain medicine—on a regular schedule? Before, with, or after meals? At bedtime?

> Are there any dangers to taking this pain medicine I should know about?

> Will this pain medicine cause problems with any other prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines I am taking?

Nov. 19, 2014 – I have to admit I did not see this coming – a whole publication dedicated to pains suffered by senior citizens. But, when I stop and think about, I realize it is a major topic of conversation among many of my senior friends. This subject choice was made the editors of a new publication series named “From Policy to Practice” from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

This first issue explores pain as a public health problem and takes a look at how various policies impact the care provided to patients in a range of practice settings, according to a news release.

It also provides readers with an overview of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that address pain research, education, training, and clinical care — as well as steps taken to implement those provisions. Maybe they should be focusing on provisions under Medicare and Medicaid, however, it they want to help seniors relieve their pain. But, actually, the title just says is to improve the health of “Aging America,” so that’s a pretty broad age group – or is that everybody?

An Interdisciplinary Look at the Potential of Policy to Improve the Health of an Aging America: Focus on Pain,” as this inaugural installment is titled, aims to ensure that researchers, practitioners, educators, and policy makers are aware of major policy issues at federal, state, and local levels that impact the prevention, assessment, and treatment of pain, as well as the social and practical supports required by older adults with pain.

But, I find, GSA is not the first to publish a magazine about the pain's of seniors. The government's NIH MedlinePlus magazine in 2011 published a special section focusing on managing chronic pain. (See the box at top right of page for links.)

GAS says support for their publication was provided by Purdue Pharma.


Related Archive Stories


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Over-The-Counter Pills Left Out of New FDA Acetaminophen Limits

Consumers will still be able to buy pills with up to twice that dose over the counter at gas stations and grocery stores - information for seniors below article

by Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller, ProPublica

Jan. 16, 2014

Half of Senior Citizens Afflicted by Bothersome Pain in Last Month

Pain prevalence was higher in women; older adults with obesity, musculoskeletal conditions, and depressive symptoms; need for public health action for elderly

Dec. 2, 2013

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The issue was assembled by an “expert panel,” according to the GSA news release, that was chaired by GSA member Mary Beth Morrissey, PhD, MPH, JD, of Fordham University.

“This publication will serve as a resource for policy makers, researchers and practitioners dealing with the complexities of older adults’ pain experience in diverse social and cultural contexts,” Morrissey said. “It may also help to inform the design of broad-based policy and practice responses that encompass both medical and social services and supports.”

 “This publication addresses how public policy helps to shape responses by medical and long-term care providers to the needs of older people,” Wiener said. “My hope is that this publication will draw attention to the regulatory and funding constraints and incentives that currently exist and motivate changes to reduce pain among older people in the community, hospitals and nursing homes, especially at the end of life.”    

Chronic pain affects about 100 million American adults — and costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatments and lost productivity, according to the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research,” which went on to identify older adults as a population at risk for inadequate assessment and treatment of pain.

Morrissey called the release of the new GSA publication very timely, as it follows on the heels of the recently released IOM report titled “Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life,” which recommends integrated financing of medical and social services for individuals with serious advanced illness.

“GSA's primary focus in this 2014 report is bringing attention to the urgent needs of older adults living with pain, especially chronic pain that is often accompanied by multiple chronic illnesses,” Morrissey said. “These complex needs call for both person-centered and public health responses.”

The new issue of From Policy to Practice goes on to examine current policies in the context of the Affordable Care Act implementation and structural incentives for integrated and coordinated care, and highlight the role of policy in helping to eliminate pain disparities and assure equitable access to appropriate pain care and management for older Americans.

Morrissey additionally emphasized the value of the interdisciplinary approach taken by this publication.

“There is robust evidence showing that pain is a multidimensional experience involving the complex interaction of sensory, cognitive,   emotional, social, cultural and spiritual dimensions,” she said. “In light of this, it is essential that knowledge and expertise from across the various disciplines — for example, medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, pharmacy, and rehabilitation therapy — be brought to bear on the challenges pain poses for older adults and their family caregivers through interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

>> Download the issue from GSA's Online Store! It's free for everyone.


Joining Morrissey as faculty for the publication were GSA Fellows Ann L. Horga, PhD, or the University of Florida; Edward Alan Miller, PhD, MPA, of the University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Joshua M. Wiener, PhD, of RTI International.

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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