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Alzheimer`s Disease/Alzheimer's Disease and Pain


Does Alzheimer's generate any pain of its own- perhaps as a result of damage to nerve pathways in the brain?  My sister, 71, has been diagnosed with Dementia from small strokes.  Though she has "moments of questionable clarity, most times in conversation with her I cannot detect the dementia at all.  She has, however, been rapidly declining physically to the point of now not being able to even move from the bed to a chair without being physically lifted.  She states that it is due to pain in her legs.  She has Rheumatoid Arthritis and has been treated for that for many years.  She says that the pain is not like RA pain.  She also has Lumbar Spondylosis, for which she achieved some relief after epidural injections, but that was some time ago and I think perhaps she needs pain management again for that.  Her husband tells me the pain is from her Dementia.
What is your experience with that?

Hello Kathy:
I'm very sorry to hear of your sister's increasing pain.  I don't believe AD "generates" any pain, in fact I have seen quite the opposite where the pain is felt less.  I have seen an elder with a broken hip get and walk on it without complaining of pain, or fall and suffer a huge skin tear but they tell me it doesn't hurt. When they do experience pain, they often cannot verbalize that to you so you would have to watch for facial grimacing, refusing food/fluids, guarding of an area like an arm or hand that is injured, in order to determine they do have pain.  One woman was quite cheerful and happy but refused all solids at breakfast.  When I asked her if she had pain or if anything hurt, she denied it, but when I checked in her mouth I found an ulcer on her gums that turned out to be an aggressive form of cancer.  Her dementia had not allowed her to process the words I was asking.  In your sister's case, I would guess this different pain could be coming either from the spine, or maybe she's experiencing muscle cramps from disuse.  Either way, she should have another pain management consultation.  In my experience, something as simple as Tylenol, given around the clock at the proper dosage can help alleviate a lot of pain in these elders.  I wish you luck Kathy as you continue to try to advocate for your sister.  Cindy  

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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