Korean J Psychosom Med.  2013 Dec;21(2):140-146.

Characteristics of Pain Threshold and Pain Experience in Elderly Patients with Dementia

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea. kichangpark@yonsei.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea.


We compared the characteristics of the pain threshold and pain experience between demented group and non-demented group.
This study was part of Gangwon projects for early detection of dementia in 2010. We recruited 8302 local resident ages over 65 years old. Of theses, 1259 people who scored low MMSE were selected and 365 of them completed CERAD-K(Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's disease). Finally, 90 in non-demented group and 57 in demented group(mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease) were analyzed. Pain threshold was experimentally measured by pressure algometer and we investigated the pain experience, by Brief pain inventory (BPI), a self-report test.
In the demographic characteristics, there are more female, higher ages, lower education in the demented group. There was no significant difference between the two groups in the pain threshold. On the BPI results, 'shoulder pain', 'the number of pain' and 'interference of working' were significantly more prevalent in non-demented group. However, there are no significant differences between the groups in the 'pain severity', 'prevalence of pain' and 'pain treatment'.
Demented group report less pain experience but, still perceived pain. It support previous studies that patient with dementia have increased pain tolerance but preserved pain threshold. Thus, active pain assessment and treatment for patients with dementia is needed.


Dementia; Pain threshold; Tolerance; Assessment; Treatment
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