As we age, our bodies go through a lot of changes. One common change that many of us experience is back pain.
Back pain is a very common issue for older adults. In fact, a study that looked into the literature published from January 1985 to October 2018 found that the incidence of back pain among the elderly population can be as high as 75%.
The study also found out that about 80% of adults over the age of 50 will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
Now, there are a number of things that can contribute to back pain as we age.
The most common causes of back pain among the 70-year-old age group include degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and osteoporosis.
These conditions often result in a loss of muscle strength and flexibility which can lead to pain. Additionally, as we age, we may not be as active as we once were and this can also lead to back pain.
Back pain symptoms can vary from person to person, but many of my 70-year-old and older patients report some common symptoms including dull or sharp pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
Many times they would report the pain occurring in the area in the lower back and feeling like a dull ache. For some, the pain may or may not change with movement, but it can be worsened by standing or staying in one position for long periods of time.
A majority of my patients report increased back stiffness or difficulty getting up from the bed in the morning.
In some cases, back pain symptoms can be a sign of a serious health issue. For example, if your back pain is accompanied by fever, unexplained weight loss, or unrelenting constant pain that interferes with your sleep.
We call these symptoms “red flags” as they can indicate a more serious medical condition including cancer, abdominal aortic aneurysm, spinal infection, or cauda equina syndromes.
These serious medical conditions could present with symptoms that could be mistaken for low back pain. If you are experiencing “red flag” symptoms, it is important to talk with your doctor right away.
As we age, it’s not uncommon to start experiencing chronic back pain. This is often due to the fact that our spines begin to degenerate and lose their elasticity. However, there are things we can do to help keep our spines healthy and youthful.
Here are a few tips:
Finally, if you are looking for practical information on how to prevent and treat chronic low back pain in a clearly defined framework you can follow at home, check out my book Back Pain Unlocked for a comprehensive solution.
Do you experience chronic back pain? Have you noticed certain symptoms that you didn’t notice before you were younger? What tips have helped you to maintain good spinal health and alleviate back pain?
Tags Medical Conditions