You often hear people complaining of various body aches. From your back to your hips to your knees, getting older definitely takes its toll. Years of wear has definite effects on your back as time passes, but you don’t have to accept back pain as your fate.
At Southern Pain Specialists, our team offers specialized care when you’re worried about pain in your back. Dr. Kenneth Varley is our pain management expert who provides a variety of treatments to get your pain under control. He also offers strategies to help patients prevent back issues as they get older.
What causes back pain as you age?
Your back is a complex structure, made up of your spine, spinal cord, nerves, muscles and ligaments. All of these parts work together to allow you to move and to protect your spinal cord.
When you’re young, your back is at its peak health. This is because your spine hasn’t taken years of stress and wear yet. As you age, though, these structures begin to degenerate, causing issues like:
This condition happens when the canal that houses your spinal cord becomes narrowed. This is due to disc problems and arthritis in your spine. The narrow canal may press on nerves, causing pain in your back.
Your joints and discs may degenerate as you get older. Discs can lose their ability to absorb the shock in your spine, leading to pain and other issues in your back.
Spondylolisthesis happens as a result of aging as well. It occurs when one of your vertebrae slips and falls onto the one below it.
Tips to prevent back pain from starting
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you’ll be a victim of back pain. There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your back in tip-top shape. The more you take care of your back, the less likely you are to suffer from pain later on.
Fit in some exercise
Staying active is one of the best ways to keep your back healthy. The more you move, the more flexible your back stays. This also keeps circulation to the muscles and spine flowing, helping to more quickly heal any issues that arise.
Maintain a healthy weight
Your spine takes on a lot of your weight. Over time, this causes damage to tissues and bones. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight helps take excess pressure off of your spine, which is extremely beneficial as you age.
Mind your posture
Poor posture leads to pain and discomfort in both your neck and back. When you sit all day, your posture can significantly affect your back. Make sure you’re using proper posture when you’re lying down, sitting, and standing to prevent back pain.
Eat a healthy diet
A quality diet not only helps you keep your weight down, but it also provides your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Take care of yourself
A little extra care and comfort go a long way in maintaining a healthy body. Get a massage regularly, or participate in restorative yoga occasionally. Taking care of your mind and body helps ward off pain when you get older as well as helps you cope and heal when it arises.
When to get help for back pain
Even with all of the effort in the world, you may still end up with pain in your back. This is often just luck-of-the-draw when it comes to genetics, injury, and other factors that affect your spine.
Mild pain that goes away on its own isn’t necessarily a concern. As you get older, it’s common to have a few aches and pains. However, if your life is affected by your back pain, it’s time to seek medical treatment.
Dr. Varley has many years of experience treating all varieties of back problems. If you can’t seem to control your pain on your own, he has the tools to provide you with pain relief. He prescribes a wide range of treatment options, including physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and radiofrequency ablation to get rid of your pain.
Treatment for your back pain is based on the severity of your pain, what’s causing your pain, and how your body tolerates conservative approaches. Typically, surgery is a last resort, as it’s invasive and not always necessary to relieve back discomfort.