A study presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Annual Meeting investigates the utility of an interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation program among adults age 60 or older who experience chronic pain.

“A hurdle to treating patients with more advanced age is that they will frequently present with complex medical comorbidities,” says Kelly Martincin, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Cleveland Clinic, and the study’s lead author, in a media release.

“The power of an interdisciplinary program is in multiple clinicians sitting down together to examine a patient’s unique concerns from a number of different angles, and this is especially important for patients who present with complex comorbidities.”

In the study, researchers analyzed the results of 225 older adults and 1,249 younger adults treated in an interdisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation program between 2007 and 2012.

All the patients included in the study showed significant improvement after discharge from the program. However, the older adults reported fewer symptoms related to depression, anxiety, and functional impairment, than the younger adults.

The researchers suggest, from these results, that the older adults benefitted equally to—if not more than—the younger adults in the program.

Martincin suggests in the release that this research could improve treatment options for older adults experiencing chronic pain.

“Physicians are always seeking the safest and most effective forms of treatment and prefer options that will not run the risks of impairing cognition, increase fall risks, etcetera. Establishing the value of an interdisciplinary program for the older adult non-cancer chronic pain population specifically provides physicians another tool to offer their patients,” Martincin says.

[Source(s): American Academy of Pain Medicine, PR Newswire]