Coping with Pain in Old Age

  • Pamela S. Melding
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


Pain is a common accompaniment of illness in late life and the incidence of disease and illness increases significantly as people age (Marsland, Wood, & Mayo, 1976; Harkins, 1988). For older people, there are many diseases that cause pain, decrease mobility, and reduce ability to engage in active pursuits. Cardiac vessel disease, cerebrovascular disease, stroke, sympathetic dystrophies, peripheral vascular disease, chronic back and neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis are all much more common in older people and can cause excruciatingly persistent pain. Many of these problems are chronic, the results of age-related organ degeneration, and are not particularly life-threatening. With few treatment available to reverse or cure the underlying disease condition, the individual is left to deal with consequent impairments, deficits, and change in lifestyle. Under these circumstances, factors that influence coping with the problem become major factors in preventing disability and improving quality of life and rehabilitation potential.


Chronic Pain Coping Strategy Late Life Chronic Pain Patient Coping Response 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela S. Melding
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural ScienceSchool of Medicine, University of Auckland, and North Shore Hospital, Waitemata HealthTakapuna, Auckland 10New Zealand

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