Pain Management

Chronic pain is one of the most common conditions healthcare professionals encounter, particularly among older adults.1

  • Approximately half of all older adults report experiencing bothersome pain within the last month, and three quarters of these older adults report pain in more than one location.2
  • Older adults who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid in particular have higher rates of chronic pain than adults with all other types of coverage.3
  • Despite the high prevalence of chronic pain among older adults, research suggests that chronic pain is often underdetected and undertreated with advancing age.4
  • Untreated or ineffectively managed chronic pain can lead to significant health consequences among older adults, including depression, decreased ability to socialize, impaired sleep, increased falls, malnutrition, and decreased quality of life.5

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) are also at increased risk for chronic pain due to factors such as higher risk of accidental injury, more physical comorbidities (e.g., musculoskeletal disorders in conditions associated with intellectual disability), and reduced access to pain management services.6 As clinicians and health plans help individuals manage pain, it is important to treat pain in a manner that meets the needs and preferences of the people experiencing pain. Resources for Integrated Care has developed resources such as webinars and written briefs to help providers and health plans serving dually eligible individuals identify and treat the pain needs of those they serve.

  • Complex Pain Management

  • Pain in Individuals with IDD

1 Dahlhamer, J., Lucas, J., Zelaya, C., Nahin, R., Mackey, S., DeBar, L., … Helmick, C. (2018). Prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain among adults. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67, 1001-1006.

2 Patel, K. V., Guralnik, J. M., Dansie, E. J., & Turk, D. C. (2013). Prevalence and impact of pain among older adults in the United States: findings from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study. Pain, 154(12), 2649–2657. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2013.07.029.

3 Dahlhamer, J., Lucas, J., Zelaya, C., Nahin, R., Mackey, S., DeBar, L., … Helmick, C. (2018).

4 Ayres, E., Warmington, M., Reid, M. (2012). Managing chronic pain in older adults: 6 steps to overcoming medication barriers. The Journal of Family Practice, 61(9), S16-S21. Retrieved from

5 Ibid.

6 International Association for the Study of Pain. (2019). Pain in Individuals with an Intellectual Disability: Scope of the Problem and Assessment Challenges. Retrieved from: