Pain and obesity in the older adult

Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(38):6037-41. doi: 10.2174/1381612820666140316131431.


Obesity and pain are common problems affecting the older adult and a possible relationship between the two is considered. Obesity and pain themselves are significant burdens on the individual, the healthcare system, and society as a whole and they can lead to emotional conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression - which lead to further healthcare utilization and burden. Cross-sectional studies have revealed a high correlation between pain and obesity and a few longitudinal studies implicate obesity as a risk factor for the development of pain and the associated reduction in quality of life. Obesity leads to pain due to mechanical stress and metabolic disruptions, so mitigating obesity may help reduce the risk of developing pain and improve recovery from pain. More research is warranted to elucidate the mechanistic links between obesity and pain and to determine the optimal treatment strategies for reducing these comorbities. Reducing obesity could reduce pain medication burden.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Mechanical