Clin-STAR corner: 2021 update in musculoskeletal pain in older adults with a focus on osteoarthritis-related pain

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023 Apr 25. doi: 10.1111/jgs.18369. Online ahead of print.


Chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) pain remains a leading cause of disability and functional impairment among older adults and is associated with substantial societal and personal costs. Chronic pain is particularly challenging to manage in older adults because of multimorbidity, concerns about treatment-related harm, as well as older adults' beliefs about pain and its management. This narrative review presents data on nine high-quality, peer-reviewed clinical trials published primarily over the past two years that focus on MSK pain management in older adults, of which four were comprehensively reviewed. These studies address contributors to knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain (insomnia), provide evidence for digital delivery or artificial intelligence driven behavioral interventions and potentially more efficient/equally effective modes of delivering glucocorticoids for OA; each of the selected studies have potential for scalability and meaningful impact in the care of older adults.

Keywords: aging; back pain; behavioral approaches; comorbidity; musculoskeletal pain; osteoarthritis.