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Is Back Pain Normal as You Age?

Because our backs bear the brunt of so much movement, it’s probable that you’ll have some back pain in your lifetime. Yet for many people a low-grade back pain stays with them for months or years. While some degeneration is an inevitable part of aging, chronic back pain is not normal. 

Anatomy of your back

Your back is made of a network of muscles, tendons, nerves, bones, and ligaments. Some of those bones, called vertebrae, are stacked on top of one another to make up your spine. Between each of your 24 moveable vertebrae are coin-shaped, gelatinous discs that cushion your steps and keep the bones from rubbing against one another.

Age-related causes of back pain

As your bones and joints age, they lose integrity which can lead to:

Degenerative changes

Of course, older adults are susceptible to any number of injuries or overuse that younger people are, but most problems in older individuals have to do with the breakdown of those vertebrae or the discs between them. This is a process known as degeneration. 

Spondylolisthesis

More common in men and women 50 and older, and especially pronounced in adults over 65, spondylolisthesis occurs when one or more of your vertebrae slip out of position. When the bone slips far enough, it can press on a nerve. The painful problem is due to loss of water in your discs, which makes it easier for the vertebrae to shift.

Spinal stenosis

One of the primary reasons for back surgery in older men and women, spinal stenosis is a condition marked by the narrowing of your spinal canal. It causes heaviness, numbness, tingling, and pain in your lower back and legs.

Remedies for back pain

Early and often is a good mantra for back pain. At the slightest sign of impending back pain, the doctors at Spinal Diagnostics recommend you treat it with these at-home remedies:

While aches and pains may come and go as you age, you don’t have to suffer with chronic pain. If your discomfort is hard to manage alone, our knowledgeable team of back specialists may recommend you take pain management a step further with:

Don’t let back pain slow down your quality of life. While you may have to accept some degree of degeneration, you don’t have to suffer in pain. Call our caring providers at one of our three Oregon offices or use the convenient online scheduling option.

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