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Publication Detail
Physical and psychosocial factors in the prevention of chronic pain in older age.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Fancourt D, Steptoe A
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society
  • Medium:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Addresses:
    Department of Behavioural Science and Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB. Electronic address: d.fancourt@ucl.ac.uk.
Chronic pain is recognised as a major challenge as people age. Yet, despite growing research on chronic pain management, there is little research into chronic pain prevention. So there is a clear need to identify multimodal activities that could be encouraged amongst older adults as part of a healthy lifestyle to reduce the incidence risk of chronic pain. Using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing we tracked 2,631 adults aged 50+ who were free from chronic pain at baseline across a decade and explore whether physical or psychosocial factors reduced the risk of developing chronic pain. In relation to physical factors, engaging in vigorous weekly activity was protective against the development of chronic pain (OR=0.74, SE=0.07, CI=0.62 to 0.89) when controlling for all identified socio-economic, health and social confounders. But no effects were found for moderate weekly activity. In relation to psychosocial factors, cultural engagement was also protective against the development of chronic pain (OR=0.75, SE=0.07, CI=0.63 to 0.91), but community group participation was not. These findings extend previous work showing that physical activity and psychosocial factors such as positive affect are key factors in the long-term success of chronic pain self-management. Future interventional studies for chronic pain are encouraged. Perspective This article explores whether physical and psychosocial activities could reduce the risk of developing chronic pain in older age. These results could potentially help clinicians to recommend multimodal activities as part of a broader healthy lifestyle for those aged 50+ to reduce the incidence rate of chronic pain.
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