Summary by Utah Sports and Wellness

Link to Original Article:

Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 67. February 2016. University of North Carolina. 56 references.


The authors described incidence, risk factors, and consequences of pain among older adults:

  • Prospective study of patients aged 65 or older from four no-fault insurance states.
  • Persistent pain and functional decline were reassessed at 6 weeks, 6 months, and one year after the accident.
  • 15 body parts were assessed on a pain scale between 1 and 10.
  • Pain severity greater than 4 more than six months after the vehicle crash were defined as having persistent pain.
  • Function was based on patient ability to walk, climb stairs, and lift or carry everyday objects.

Disability was defined as requiring assistance with the following six activities:

  • Bathing, dressing, transitioning out of a chair or bed, using the bathroom, standing from a chair, and eating or drinking.

These authors also note:

  • Persistent back and neck pain are known to be disabling health outcomes among adults who experience a motor vehicle crash.
  • Increased age is a risk factor for persistent motor vehicle crash related pain.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the second most common form of traumatic injury among adults.
  • Of the 161 participants, 72% reported moderate to severe pain at the emergency department.
  • In the ER, the most common areas of pain were chest, neck, upper back, lower back, and head.
  • At the 6 month evaluation, 26% of patients were still experiencing moderate to severe pain with general activities.
  • 10% of the participants became long-term opioid users.
  • One third of participants reported feeling more nervous while driving.