Back pain is a problem for many people, even those who are still young. While injuries are a common cause of back pain, issues like genetic defects, prior surgeries, calcium deficiency, lack of exercise, and old age can also contribute. Back pain is often chronic, and it can be debilitating, significantly decreasing the sufferer’s quality of life. It is also more commonly experienced by individuals of advanced age than it is in young people.
Treatment options for back pain are plentiful, with varying degrees of effectiveness. In part, the cause of the back pain determines what treatments are available and how effective they will be. Back pain caused by age has its own complications as well as its own special needs for treatment.
One of the problems of old age is arthritis. Generally, the older you are, the more likely it is you’ll get arthritis. If you already have arthritis, the condition is likely to worsen with age. There are many different kinds of arthritis, but for back pain, osteoarthritis of the spine and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the more common types. Osteoarthritis of the spine causes degeneration of the discs between joints in the spinal column while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the synovium, or lining, of the joints.
Some treatments that can be completed at home. These include NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen), using ice packs, doing gentle stretching exercises, and even meditation. One can also help relieve pain with some longer-term strategies like losing weight and embracing a non-inflammatory diet.
Years of Bad Posture
Other causes of back pain include years of bad posture. Given enough time, muscles and ligaments become permanently distorted by bad posture, causing constant back pain that cannot be entirely relieved by simple stretching exercises. Pain can be especially pronounced while walking. Bad posture can also contribute to bursitis, tendonitis, and muscle spasms.
Treating back pain from bad posture often means trying to correct the posture in addition to treating the sore muscles themselves. Chiropractic or manipulation therapy can help. Muscle relaxants and steroid injections are also good candidates for back pain relief, as are yoga or pilates programs. In more extreme cases, braces can be used to correct posture.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease in the spine is another common cause of back pain. Over time, normal wear and tear on the discs that cushion the bony surfaces of the spinal column wear out. The vertebrae then rub together, producing bone spurs that, in turn, can damage nerves. Freedom of movement of the spinal cord is reduced and makes bending and stretching harder.
Treatments for degenerative disc disease include certain kinds of exercise, like walking, cycling, or swimming. More aggressive treatments include surgery, like spinal fusion or decompression.
If you have chronic back pain, see a doctor who specializes in treating it. The elimination of chronic pain from your life will improve it greatly.