Management of chronic pain among older patients: Inside primary care in the US

Ming Tai-Seale, Jane Bolin, Xiaoming Bao, Richard Street

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Under-treatment of pain is a worldwide problem. We examine how often pain was addressed and the factors that influence how much time was spent on treating pain. We analyzed 385 videotapes of routine office visits in several primary care practices in the Southwest and Midwest regions of the United States. We coded the visit contents and the time spent on pain and other topics. Logistic regression and survival analyses examined the effects of time constraint, physician's supportiveness, patient's health, and demographic concordance. We found that discussion of pain occurred in 48% of visits. A median of 2.3 min was spent on addressing pain. The level of pain, physician's supportiveness, and gender concordance were significantly associated with the odds of having a pain discussion. Time constraints and racial concordance significantly influenced the length of discussion. We conclude that despite repeated calls for addressing under-treatment for pain, only a limited amount of time is used to address pain among elderly patients. This phenomenon could contribute to the under-treatment of pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1087.e1-1087.e8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Chronic pain
  • Elderly
  • Primary care
  • Under-treatment
  • Videotape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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