Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2015 , Vol 18, Issue 2
Erkan MESCİ1, Afitap İÇAĞASIOĞLU1, Raife Şirin ATLIĞ2, İrem ANGIN1, Sibel TOSLALI1
1Medeniyet University, Training and Research Hospital, Phsical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic, İSTANBUL
2Avicenna Umut Hospital, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic, İSTANBUL
Introduction: In previous studies of pain sensitivity in the elderly, reliance on experimental assessments of the pain threshold has led to inconsistent results; thus, the impact of ageing on pain sensitivity is still uncertain. In this study, we investigate the changes in experimental and clinical pain sensitivity in an elderly population.

Materials and Method: Pressure pain threshold measurements were obtained using a digital algometer for 80 elderly patients with chronic low back pain and 80 younger patients with low back pain (control group). A visual analog scale was used to assess the sensitivity of the thumbnail bed to painful stimuli (Thumb-VAS) and to low back pain (Low back pain-VAS). Correlation analyses were then used to explore the association between parameters of experimental and clinical pain sensitivity.

Results: Both groups had comparable gender distribution, body mass index, Beck Depression Inventory scores and pain duration (p>0.05 for all). There was no difference between the groups in experimental pain sensitivity parameters, including deltoid, 1st dorsal interosseous, tibial pressure pain threshold, thumb-VAS and low back pain-VAS (p > 0.05 for all). While experimental pain sensitivity parameters were highly correlated with each other (p=0.000 for all), they did not show a correlation with clinical pain sensitivity.

Conclusion: Healthy physiological ageing does not have a considerable impact on pain sensitivity as assessed by either experimental pain or clinical pain sensitivity. Keywords : Ageing; Pain Perception; Pain Threshold