Back Pain And Aging: A Primer
Getting older is something that none of us can avoid, but, unfortunately, with aging comes a variety of aches and pains. In particular, lower back pain is often a part of the of the aging process. This article presents some of basic information that everyone should know about back pain and aging.
A wide range of issues, such as sciatica and a slipped disk, can cause lower back pain, but in many senior citizens with back issues the main cause is simply the aging process itself. The various components of the spine begin to wear out as you age. As these bones, joints and disks get weaker, pain in the area will start to increase. Although this process cannot be reversed, you have various options at your disposal to manage your condition and reduce your pain.
Surgery is a possible option for older people with back pain, although this is advisable only in a minority of patients, according to a prominent surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University. For instance, if you are in a lot of discomfort because a degenerated disk is pressing on nerves around your spine, surgery might be recommend. In this case, the surgeon will remove the damaged tissue, which gives the nerves more room, resulting in less back pain. This type of surgery may restrict your movement, but many patients feel that the reduction in pain is worth the risk.
Non Surgical Methods
If your back pain is mainly due to aging, then your physician is likely to recommend that you try non-surgical methods to treat your condition. One of the most common non-surgical treatments is spinal manipulation. A healthcare provider, such as a chiropractor or osteopath, manipulates your spine manually to increase the blood flow in the area and also to decrease the tenseness in the muscles of your back.
Heat and ice treatments are also helpful for some elderly people with lower back pain. Putting an ice pack or heating pad on your back can often diminish your discomfort by loosening muscles or reducing inflammation in the affected area. Some patients find that alternating between the two treatments gives the best results.
Back pain is an inevitable part of aging for many of those who are getting older. But it need not keep you from living a full and and vibrant life in your senior years. To learn more about how to deal with this important health issue, talk with your healthcare provider.