eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 13
Clinical research

Prevalence of chronic pain in the elderly Polish population – results of the PolSenior study

Elzbieta Kozak-Szkopek
Katarzyna Broczek
Przemyslaw Slusarczyk
Katarzyna Wieczorowska-Tobis
Alicja Klich-Raczka
Aleksandra Szybalska
Malgorzata Mossakowska

Arch Med Sci 2017; 13, 5: 1197–1206
Online publish date: 2016/06/06
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Introduction: Pain is the most common complaint of elderly people. In Poland, no large studies on the prevalence of chronic pain in the elderly were conducted until recently.

Material and methods: The study was a part of the PolSenior project, a cross-sectional multidisciplinary study on ageing of the Polish population, and included a randomly selected group of 716 people aged 55–59 years, and 4979 people over 65 years. The survey was conducted through a standardized questionnaire. An evaluation of pain occurrence, location, intensity and coexistence of pains in relation to gender, age and use of health care was performed.

Results: Chronic pain affected 42.0% of respondents aged 65 years and over (48.6% of women and 35.8% of men) as compared to 35.2% of the pre-elderly. The most common pain locations were the lumbar region (51.6%) and knees (41.0%). The average number of pain sites was 3.1 ±2.3. Average intensity of pain was 6.2 points on the VAS scale in people over 65 years and 6.0 points in the pre-elderly (NS). Average pain intensity increased significantly from 5.7 points in patients reporting pain in one place to 7.2 points in those reporting six pain sites. Elderly respondents with pain compared to those without pain more frequently reported physician visits performed at least once a month (54.6% vs. 48.4%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Polish elderly most frequently complained of low back and lower limb pain. In respondents reporting many sites of pain, an increase in the intensity of pain was observed. Elderly patients with chronic pain often use medical care.

chronic pain, elderly population, PolSenior study, representative survey, advanced age

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