George Burns said, “You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you’re down there.”
Each passing year brings us lessons from our successes and our mistakes that carry us to the wisdom of a life long lived. And if you’re like George Burns, who lived a full century, you find the humor in it all, as our bodies remind us that we’re not spring chickens anymore.
Our bodies are maps of our past. That knee that acts up when it rains, reminds us of our years playing college football. That scar on the arm that brings memories of setting up our children’s playset. Back pain reminds us of the beautiful garden we created at our home throughout the years. But this doesn’t mean that as we get older, we need to live with the pain.
What Causes Back Pain
For people over the age of 50, back pain is mostly caused by the deterioration that happens in our bodies as we age. The most common causes are:
- Degeneration. Loss of moisture in discs and joints causes them to not work as effectively as they did when they were young and more resilient.
- Spondylolisthesis. This occurs when a disc that has lost some of its “sponginess” due to age, slips out of place and onto a vertebra below, pinching nerves that cause pain.
- Spinal Stenosis. This happens when disc degeneration, thickened ligaments, or facet joints with arthritis causes narrowing of the canal that the spinal cord passes through.
How Seniors Can Relieve Back Pain
Even though aging is a major contributor to back issues for seniors, it doesn’t mean they have to live with the pain. Here are a few things that can be done to ease back pain:
Medication. Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin can effectively provide pain relief.
Ice. Apply an ice or cold pack when the pain hits. Do it for 20 minutes then do 20 minutes without until pain subsides. It helps calm the nerves that cause those painful back spasms.
Physical Therapy. Age-appropriate physical therapy sessions can help strengthen your back muscles and avoid pain.
Stretches. Stretching increases blood flow which delivers nutrients to your muscles and you don’t need to be a full-on yogi to do them. Some helpful stretches for your back can be done while seated in a chair and can be found here.
Stay Active. Regular exercise is like squirting oil on moving parts of a machine. It keeps them moving. It doesn’t have to be too strenuous but some simple stretching of those back muscles will strengthen them. If you stay active, when you do have an issue with your back, you’ll be able to come back from it more quickly. Remember: bodies in motion stay in motion!
Chiropractic Care for Seniors
Chiropractic care can be an effective preventative to back pain for seniors. While some seniors may worry that chiropractic treatments may be too harsh and that they’re bodies are simply too fragile, a trained and licensed chiropractor knows how to carefully manipulate the spine and make adjustments that can ease the patient’s pain. (If you have osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, you should consult with your primary care provider before seeking chiropractic care.)
Aside from relieving back pain, chiropractic adjustments can improve a patient’s ability to move and increase their range of motion which can improve balance. Maintaining good balance is vital because falling is a big problem for seniors that can lead to serious injuries or even death.
Chiropractic treatments can improve their ability to move without back pain which is an improvement to the quality of life. When seniors are in good health and continue to move, they can stay out of assisted living facilities longer.
North County Pain Relief is a full-service chiropractic care facility located in St. Louis that treats patients young and old. Our caring staff will guide you through the process as we determine the best treatment for you. Call to schedule a free consultation today at (314) 731-4201 and we’ll help you get moving!