Back Pain: A Sign of Aging

posted by Chris Valentine

It’s difficult to pinpoint when aging starts, since technically we begin to get older from the moment we’re born. Different parts of us age at different times. The initial signs of aging skin, for example, tend to begin at around age 25. Starting the age of 20, brain neurons start to decrease, and decrease at a speed of 10,000 per day after 40, affecting memory, coordination and brain functions. The bone structure is a chief concern for people over 50 and this is when it’s time to take better care of your back since it’s a body part that can cause older adults a lot of trouble.

Almost everyone will experience back pain at one point in their life. The list is long when it comes to causes of backache; overweight, poor posture, or wrong movements. Nevertheless, aging tops the list of causes. There’s no specific reason, but rather just the wear and tear of daily movements throughout the years.

What Causes Backaches?

The spine is composed of individual bones called vertebrae. They’re stacked up upon each other and small joints are located between each vertebra which allow the spine to move. There are also disks; the center of them is a jellylike material that acts as shock absorbers and stop the bones from rubbing against each other.

As we age, these disks begin to shrink, causing pain and stiffness. Over that, there is a space around the spinal cord and this begins to narrow over time. This is a particular condition known as spinal stenosis that puts excess pressure on the cord and spinal nerves.

Other medical conditions could be osteoporosis, which is a decrease in bone mass. It’s normal for bone mass to decrease as we age, but osteoporosis is a silent disease where the bones become porous and fragile and the risk of a bone fracture becomes high. The most common fractures would be at the hip, spine and wrist,

Yet most back pain is rarely caused by diseases and there are several treatments that could help you.

Acute vs Chronic Pain

Because it’s such a common complaint, back pain can be handled in several ways. Most ways will be through physical medicine and medications. Sometimes, in more severe cases, a surgery might be required depending on the problem.

The type of treatment also depends on whether the problem is acute or chronic. Acute pain is a sudden onset of pain, while chronic is a long-term condition. So, for instance, lifting something that’s too heavy can cause an acute pain that will typically go away over a certain duration of time. It’s possible that if an acute pain isn’t treated properly it can turn into something chronic. Chronic back pain can develop and worsen over time, and pain that lasts three months or over can be considered chronic.

Yet, many cases are just temporary. You need to read more about this and have a better understanding of the common symptoms of backaches vs more severe symptoms. There is also more information available on how to treat the pain through various easy and safe methods.

How to Ease Back Pain

Physical therapy: Physical medicine includes things like physical therapy. People who suffer from lower back pain often benefit from therapy. A physical therapist will know what kind of movement exercises you can do to benefit from. These are active therapies, and there’s also what is known as passive physical therapy where things are done to your back. This could include ice packs or heat application. If you’ve had to undergo any surgery on your back, the strength and stability that physical therapy provides can significantly cut a patient’s recovery time after surgery.

Medications: Analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and other medications can be taken to help control chronic back pain. However, most come with side effects and are not meant for extended use.

Lifestyle changes: It’s always difficult to pinpoint the cause of chronic back pain, but you can take note of what triggers or worsens the pain and avoid doing those activities. Learn to listen to your body and pace yourself. Also, nicotine is a known substance that can delay the healing process, so if you do smoke, this would be a good time to kick the habit.

Backaches can cause irritability and frustration, because they limit your physical abilities, and most people can’t leave their pain to go unchecked. Specialists may provide you with several different ways to treat your back be it through special exercises or medications. You don’t have to deal with the pain all the time and a specialist can help you remedy the ache.

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