12 Sep How to Treat Age-Related Back Pain
Most people experience back pain at some point in their lives, but once you reach age 50, your risk goes up. Aging Awareness Day is September 18, so now is a good time to discuss age-related back pain and what you can do about it.
Why Does Aging Bring on Back Pain?
There’s a long list of possible reasons why your back hurts. Being overweight, smoking, having poor eating habits, and going through menopause are just a few of them. But the number one cause is aging. Here are some things that can happen to your spine as you get older:
- Degenerative changes: Loss of moisture and a reduced ability to bounce back from trauma makes spinal discs less effective shock absorbers.
- Spinal stenosis: The canal through which your spinal cord runs becomes narrower as you age. This condition, known as spinal stenosis, puts excessive pressure on your spinal nerves, which may cause age-related back pain and irritation.
- Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition where one spinal vertebra slips forward onto the vertebra below it.
- Osteoporosis: Decreased bone mass becomes more common as you age, making your vertebrae more susceptible to fractures.
- Spinal arthritis: If the facet joints between your vertebrae begin to deteriorate, you may be diagnosed with spinal arthritis. While age is a primary cause of this, the process may accelerate if you break a bone in your back or experience whiplash in a car accident.
How to Ease Age-Related Back Pain at Home
Inflammation, pressure, or trauma of any kind along the spine can lead to back pain. Help prevent painful conditions with these at-home tips:
- Be more physically active: Motion helps to lubricate your joints. In general, if you live an active lifestyle, you’ll find it easier to bounce back from acute injuries and may even prevent chronic conditions from setting in.
- Stretch and strengthen your spine: If you struggle with ongoing pain, your doctor can prescribe exercises to help improve your strength, balance, flexibility, and posture. These may include abdominal exercises, yoga, and Pilates.
- Take medication: If you injure your back, take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen two to three times a day for up to 10 days. If these over-the-counter medicines aren’t enough, ask your doctor about muscle relaxants or steroid injections.
- Try heat and cold therapy: For acute back pain caused by sudden trauma, reach for an ice pack or bag of frozen peas. Wrap the ice in a towel and apply it to the painful area for 20 minutes at a time several times a day. If the pain lingers after two or three days, try applying heat. Take warm baths, use a heating pad, or lie under a heat lamp for up to 20 minutes. Then, stretch your warmed muscles to help stimulate blood flow.
- Practice back-healthy habits: You can heal faster and help prevent back pain in the first place by practicing good posture, lifting with care, and maintaining a healthy weight with diet and exercise.
Physical Medicine for Age-Related Back Pain
If your back pain doesn’t improve with at-home methods, don’t resign yourself to a life with chronic pain! Professional treatments can help you resolve the underlying cause without resorting to surgeries such as spinal fusion or disc replacement. Here are your options for treating age-related back pain at Mile High Spine & Pain Center:
- Acupuncture or dry needle therapy: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing method that involves inserting tiny needles at specific points of the body to restore the balance of qi, or energy. Science backs up this treatment by explaining that it stimulates the body’s healing process. Dry needle therapy is a similar modality designed to treat muscle tension and spasms.
- Chiropractic care: Chiropractors realign the spine using manual manipulation. If your vertebrae have fallen out of alignment, this treatment may help with your back pain.
- Injections: If damaged nerves continually send out pain signals, or your spinal joints hurt due to arthritis, anti-inflammatory injections may be an effective treatment. You can expect localized pain relief, restored range of motion, long-lasting results, and very few side effects.
- Spinal decompression: Degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and other causes of age-related back pain often respond well to spinal decompression. This treatment aims to take the pressure off your compressed discs and vertebrae so they no longer cause pain.
- Vibration therapy: Spinal injuries tend to have a slow recovery process, but vibration exercises can speed this up. The treatment is also praised for helping older adults improve their balance, flexibility, and bone mineral density.
Visit Mile High Spine & Pain Center for Age-Related Back Pain Treatment
With so many options for treating back pain, you should have a renewed sense of hope that the right treatment for you is out there! The team at Mile High Spine & Pain Center can help you find the pain relief you crave.
To begin down the path to a pain-free way of life, start by calling us at (720) 507-0080 and schedule a free consultation today. We’ll work closely with you to help you find the right treatment for your situation.