There are many known causes of back pain. These include poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, being overweight, not eating well, spinal problems, and other health conditions such as cancer. But among the most common causes of back pain is aging.
As we age, our bodies undergo degenerative processes causing our muscles and bones to lose their strength. This results in discomforts and aches. And as we advance more in age, these aches and discomforts will likely worsen.
Conditions causing back pains
While slight back pains come with the aging process, it should be noted that severe and chronic back pain occurs less frequently in the elderly than in adults aged 26 to 55, according to statistics. However, there are conditions that cause back pains that get worsened by the aging process. Here are some of them:
Osteoporosis. This can possibly cause easy fractures due to weak and porous bones.
Vertebral or compression fractures. Vertebral fractures usually result from lone bone density in the elderly, whereas compression fractures may or may not present symptoms.
Osteoarthritis. This condition causes pain in various parts of the body including the spine.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis. This usually results from severe spinal degeneration. Mild cases are typically not problematic, but more severe cases may cause disability.
Degenerative disc disease. This is a normal part of the aging process.
Spinal stenosis. This condition is especially common among the elderly.
Pinched nerves. These can be caused by conditions such as spinal curvature, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis
Adult scoliosis. This type of scoliosis results from the wear and tear of the spine.
Preventing elderly back pain
It is true that we all grow old, and it is also true that aging brings with it body aches. However, there are things we can do to prevent severe wear and tear of our bodies. And these things can be done while we are still young and relatively healthier.
Eating healthy. There is nothing a good diet cannot do! In order to help our bones age well, we need to eat well. Our diets should include food sources rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, which are essential for strong bones.
Exercising regularly. Alongside proper diet, we should also dedicate a little time into getting physically fit through exercise. We are not expected to go all out. Running, jogging, or going for a walk daily will make a difference.
Staying away from vices. While occasional drinks with friends are acceptable, we need to know where to set our limits. Remember that alcohol when taken too much and too often will hurt your body. Smoking and drugs will not do you any good, as well.
Saying no to stressors. Most chronic pains among the elderly have psychological roots. Therefore it is important to keep a healthy state of mind. Do not let life’s stresses control your mood, and learn to be at peace with the things you have no control of, such as aging.
Reducing back pain in the elderly
Okay, so maybe you are not young anymore and it is unfortunately not enough to just take preventive measures. The good news is that there ways to manage and help ease your back pain. Here are some of them:
Yoga is a popular meditational exercise among the young. However, many seniors have found that yoga is also helpful in managing back pain. Because you become more prone to back injuries as you grow old, you should follow a less strenuous variation of yoga.
This less strenuous variation involves gentle poses and extensions of the limbs. There are a lot of instructional videos online, but we highly suggest you attend actual classes designed for the elderly in order for a professional to guide you.
Lastly, before enrolling or beginning class, be sure to consult your physician.
Massage therapy is a great natural alternative to pain relievers. Massage helps relieve pain by improving circulation and soothing inflammation and swelling around your muscles.
Unlike pain medications, massage therapy has the capacity to actually to improve the condition rather than just masking the symptoms.
There are many massage centers that also offer other therapies such as acupuncture and hot stone massage, which can also help relieve back pains.
Finding a quality mattress
Where you sleep matters, especially in terms of relieving back pains. Do yourself a favor and invest in a good, high-quality mattress, because unfortunately your worn out bed may have already lost its capacity to actually support your neck and back. Memory foam mattresses are popular right now because of their ability to relieve back pains.
If you are the type who enjoys sitting by the patio in the afternoon, we also advise that you invest in high quality recliners or foam bean bag chairs. You can also search online for the best chair for bad back at home.
We are not getting any younger. Instead getting angry at the discomforts brought about by the aging process, let us focus our energy into finding relief in order for us to lead a good-quality life until the end.