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Weill Cornell Pain Medicine physician Sadiah Siddiqui, M.D., Instructor in Anesthesiology, was interviewed recently by Grandparents.com, the on-line presence of the American Grandparents Association. Older adults are a population that deal with chronic pain more often than younger adults, teens, and children. Grandparents.com asked Dr. Siddiqui for advice that that can help older adults manage pain more successfully.

Dr. Siddiqui identified many factors that can reduce pain tolerance. By controlling and monitoring these factors, when possible, adults can increase their tolerance to pain and reduce the extent to which pain limits daily activities. One of those factors is stress. “High stress is related to increased risk of a host of physical and mental problems, including weight gain, depression, and heart disease,” the website noted. “Long-term stress can also cause pain and influence the body’s sensitivity to pain. Studies show that people with stress and anxiety have a lower pain threshold, says Dr. Siddiqui.”

Dr. Siddiqui’s discussion of stress was complemented by discussions of insomnia, depression, drugs, genetics, gender, the brain, exercise, and (surprisingly) hair color. Understanding how these factors influence pain tolerance can help older adults build up tolerance to pain and manage pain more successfully.

older couple holding hands

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