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Senior Health

Age and sensitivity to pain

03/06/2007

Question:

Is there something about getting older that would make one have a lower tolerance to pain? I`m only 55 but noticed that over the last few years, if I happen to brush my finger or hand or foot against something, it often hurts more than it used to when I was younger or more than it would most others. I also heard that if someone is a very sensitive person, both emotionally and physically, this sensitivity increases with age. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks

Answer:

Generally speaking, pain does not commonly increase in intensity as we grow older. I have no knowledge about increased sensitivity to pain as we grow older but that does not mean that it is not a possibility or a reality for you. If you are experiencing differences in your pain sensation or intensity from your usual pain level, see your health care provider for an assessment of your pain.

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Response by:

Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN
Associate Professor Emerita
Associate Director of the
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati