HealthDay News — Seven in 10 older U.S. adults report joint pain or arthritis, with nearly half reporting that it limits their daily activities, according to the results of the latest University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.
Preeti Malani, M.D., from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor, and colleagues asked a national sample of 2,277 older adults (aged 50 to 80 years) about their experiences with, and management of, arthritis and joint pain.
The poll, sponsored by AARP, found that nearly half of those reporting arthritis symptoms say they have pain every day (45 percent). Nearly half of those with joint pain say the pain limits their usual activities at least somewhat (49 percent), while over one-third (36 percent) say it interferes with their day-to-day life. Three-quarters believe arthritis and joint pain are a normal part of aging and two-thirds take over-the-counter pain relievers (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen). One in four respondents (26 percent) say they take supplements (such as glucosamine or chondroitin), while 11 percent have turned to cannabidiol and 9 percent use marijuana. Fewer than one in five report prescription-based treatments, including prescription-only nonopioid pain relievers (18 percent), steroid joint injections (19 percent), oral steroids (14 percent), opioids (14 percent), and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (4 percent).
“Older adults with fair or poor physical or mental health were much more likely to agree with the statement that there’s nothing that someone with joint pain can do to ease their symptoms, which we now know to be untrue,” Malani said in a statement. “Health providers need to raise the topic of joint pain with their older patients, and help them make a plan for care that might work for them.”