Aging and Back Pain: Is it Unavoidable?

There Are Ways to Prevent Back Pain From Worsening

Back pain is something that most people deal with at some point during their lifetime. In fact, it is the leading cause of disability globally, accounting for 264 million missed workdays every year. Because a reported 80 percent of the population will experience back pain, it makes us wonder whether it is merely a part of life. Although it can affect people of all ages, it is most common amongst older adults. Unfortunately, regardless of how young at heart you are, getting older carries inevitable physical challenges. Back pain, for one, is one of the most common complaints as we age. However, this is not to say it is unavoidable. Physical wear and tear and joint deterioration are, of course, natural, but there are steps you can take to prevent your condition from turning into a more severe problem.

As we’ve discussed in the past, many different lifestyle choices may contribute to chronic pain. Yet on the other side of that, numerous habits support the body and can help prevent degeneration, inflammation, and other factors that contribute to this. Not all pain is created equal. By taking the time to understand the most common causes of back pain and what your treatment options are, you can make some life-changing decisions that may help keep your issues at bay.

Today we are going to take a closer look at back pain and why it is more prevalent as we get older. It is no secret that the body changes with time, and stopping the aging process is downright impossible. That being said, researchers have found that making small adjustments in your daily routine may be instrumental in preventing debilitating pain. If you are living with back pain and aren’t sure what to do about it, give Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call today. We are here to help you find the right treatment for your specific concerns and will do everything we can to encourage healthy aging. Sadly, many people turn to pain medications, thinking it is the only way to overcome their symptoms. But there are numerous ways to treat chronic pain safely, naturally, and effectively.

Common Symptoms and Causes

Back pain may look different for everyone, especially with age. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Shooting or stabbing sensations
  • It starts in the back and spreads down one or both legs
  • It gets worse with standing, walking, bending, or lifting heavy items
  • Numbness
  • Pain that decreases with lying down or reclining
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Inflammation or swelling in the back
  • Persistent pain

There are many different causes, and for a large percentage of people, back pain becomes more consistent over time. Some examples of common causes of back pain (specifically with age) include:

  • Loss of muscle elasticity
  • Loss of bone strength
  • Disc degeneration or deterioration
  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Bulging, herniated, or ruptured discs
  • Arthritis
  • Scoliosis or other skeletal irregularities
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sciatica
  • SI joint dysfunction
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Trauma
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory conditions

What Are the Risk Factors?

There is no question that time is one of the main reasons back pain is so common worldwide. Yet, certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of facing this kind of deterioration and discomfort as you get older. In fact, it is much more common for people starting around age 30 or 40.  Some of these risk factors include:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor core strength
  • Weight gain
  • Certain diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and arthritis
  • Bad posture
  • Repetitive actions that are hard on the spine
  • Improper lifting
  • Mental disorders, including depression and anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Genetics

Is My Lifestyle to Blame?

There is no question that chronic pain gets worse with time. However, the degree of it a person experiences will depend on a host of factors. Often, this is the result of joint dysfunction, poor lifestyle choices, lousy posture, past trauma, or genetics. While many of these things cannot be reversed, there are steps you can take to support the body and help it heal. The more work we put in, the better results we will see.

Treating Back Pain as You Get Older 

One of the most common causes of back pain (as discussed above) is regular wear and tear. As we get older, the discs between the vertebrae start to wear away, which can be downright impossible to stop. So, what do you do about it? The first thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t too late. Regardless of your age, there are small changes you can make to prevent back pain from settling in or worsening, including yoga, incorporating turmeric into your diet, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, and working with a specialist to come up with a personalized pain management plan. Effective treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Stretching
  • Weightlifting
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Injections
  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Chiropractic care

Prevention

There are numerous strategies you can try that may help prevent this as you age:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle diet and weight
  • Stay active (even just 15 minutes of physical activity is excellent!)
  • Avoid long periods of inactivity
  • Learn proper posture
  • Wear good shoes
  • Invest in the right mattress
  • Lift with your knees
  • Stop smoking
  • Work with an experienced pain management clinic

If you have questions about staying healthy and preventing back pain as you age, give Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call today. As the premier pain management clinic in Frisco, we are here to help you understand your risk factors and what can be done to prevent deterioration and other common causes of back pain. Give any of our Texas clinics a call today to talk with someone!