Back Pain Due to Old Age – Causes and Management
Ageing is an inevitable part of life and uneventful, to say the least. While age-related laugh lines and gray hair may be something you can take in your stride, what can be a recurring unpleasant experience is age-related back pain.
Statistics show the progression of back pain with regards to age. Numbers show that while 28.4% of adults between the years 18 – 29 suffered from back pain, the percentage increased to 35.2% in the 30 – 44 years complaining of back pain. Further , 44.3% in the age group of 44 – 64 experienced back pain and the an alarming 45.6% people above 65 years of age suffered from this issue.
While the numbers prove the direct relation between increasing age and increasing back pain, it is necessary to understand why this happens in order to manage this pain the best way. Some of the reasons for back pain as we age are:
Ageing causes our intervertebral discs to lose their function. Intervertebral discs are cushions between the vertebrae in our spine. They provide the necessary cushioning and absorb stress and shock that our body goes through during movement. With age, these discs degenerate possibly due to decline in nutrition. Other factors like decrease in collagen genes that create a structure and stability within the discs, age-related wear and tear and decrease in activity levels can also causes intervertebral discs to degenerate and bring about back pain.
Spinal osteoarthritis is an age-related wear and tear disease. Our joints are covered with cartilage that lubricates our joints and ensures their smooth functioning. However, with age, the smooth cartilage covering the joints reduces. This makes the bones rub against each other, puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain and inflammation. While spinal osteoarthritis affects all genders, after 45 years of age it is more common amongst women.
Age-related muscle loss
Sarcopenia or simply, age-related muscle loss is also a cause of back pain in older adults. Individuals start to lose muscle mass and function post 30 years of age. While it happens more in people who are inactive, other factors also seem to influence it. Some of them are – reduction in nerve cells that send signals to the brain to start movement, lower concentrations of growth hormones, a decline in the ability of the body to turn protein into energy and reduction in nutrition levels required to sustain muscle mass.
All of these age-related changes can lead to inflammation, muscle loss, reduction in flexibility and back pain.
While these changes cause pain as a normal part of the ageing process, they shouldn’t become debilitating and interfere with your daily functioning. So, what can you do for back pain relief and to keep your spine young and healthy as you age?
BACK PAIN MANAGEMENT
Exercise for back pain relief
While exercising with back pain seems to be a bad idea, the truth is far from it. Sedentary lifestyles coupled with age can be a deal breaker when it comes to back pain. In fact, moderate levels of exercise – say yoga or walking, are a gamechanger when it comes to acute or chronic back pain. Seniors can also try aqua therapy or stretching and mobility exercises to ensure they maintain the desired range of motion and flexibility of their back.
Apply ice pack or heat
If you are suffering from inflammation or muscle spasms, applying an ice pack 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off will help reduce them. If you feel like you have a stiff back, taking a warm bath or using a heating pad for some time will warm the muscles and improve blood circulation bringing about relief from back pain.
When age-related back pain strikes, seniors can experience some limitations. However, it is important to listen to your body and rest up or avoid activities that bring about back pain. Also, maintaining a nutritious diet, getting restful sleep and managing stress will help bring relief from back pain.
Massages can provide necessary relief from back pain, especially lower back pain. It helps relax tight muscles, improves blood circulation, relieved arthritic pain, improves range of motion and boosts endorphin levels.
While we cannot avoid age-related back pain, we can definitely aim for back pain relief. One of the ways is through massaging with an Ayurvedic oil like Zandu Ortho Vedic Oil. It is made with 5 traditional oils and over a 100 Ayurvedic ingredients and aims to give effective and long-lasting relief from back pain, reduce stiffness and improve flexibility in just 7 days.