The Link Between Chronic Pain & Dementia

The New York Times reports that there may be a link between chronic pain and increased risk of dementia.

The June 2017 article gives details about a research project that involved 10,065 people over age 62, who suffered from “persistent pain,” which participants defined as being moderate or severe pain. All participants had their health tracked throughout 2012, and the results of these evaluations show that participants who reported persistent pain in both 1998 and 2000 had a decline in memory performance 9 % more rapid than people without persistent pain. Furthermore, these same participants had a probability of dementia increase of 7.7 %, compared to those without persistent pain.

JAMA Internal Medicine published the study and they assert that it does not prove cause and effect. The do however explain that chronic pain may divert attention from mental activity, which can lead to diminished memory. Read the full article HERE.

This study matches widely understood impacts of chronic pain. Physician’s and sufferers are best served by being aware and vigilant about cognitive implications and the need for appropriate management including coping skills.

At OPICA, we understand that many CAREgivers battle chronic pain. Our counselors teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques, which are research proven coping-skills that help reduce the biological impact of chronic pain, click HERE for more information.


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