Back pain affects adults of all ages. Clinical practice and mountains of research have given us a bird’s-eye view of the various reasons people may suffer ongoing back or neck pain. Not only do we better understand the underlying causes for pain, but we can also discern what risks are more prominent at what time in life. Here, we discuss the common reasons why people in their 60s may develop back pain.
It is during one’s sixties that retirement becomes a reality. This time in life can be a starting-over phase in which there is much more available time than there has been in decades. Retirees may discover that their bodies are much happier without the postures or physical demands they carried at work for so many years. They may also discover that their new activity levels as they take up hobbies is a bit hard on the body. Physical activity is necessary for good spinal health. However, when beginning new exercise or hobbies, adults should be mindful to take it slow. Additionally, listen to the body. If soreness or pain occurs, take a few days to rest more and, if necessary, apply heat or ice as recommended by a doctor.
Women approaching menopause often hear that they may face a greater risk of osteoporosis as a result of their natural hormonal changes. This happens because estrogen, the sex hormone largely involved in menstruation, is a necessary chemical for bone health, as well. When estrogen levels drop severely, the body’s resorption of bone tissue is greater than its regeneration activities. When the bones are weaker as a result of osteoporosis, there is a greater risk of fractures, including spinal fractures. To offset this risk, women who are perimenopausal or post-menopausal are encouraged to engage in low impact resistance training and also to consume vitamin D and calcium on a daily basis.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Adults of all ages have some degree of risk of degenerative disc disease. This condition, in which the discs that cushion the spine wear down, is influenced by several factors. Age is one of them, but so are weight and posture and activity level. Regardless of the fact that degenerative disc disease is more likely as we get older, we don’t want to normalize this cause of back pain. To manage this risk, adults are encouraged to eat a healthy diet that maintains their weight. Low impact exercise is also beneficial as it strengthens the muscles that support a healthy spine.
Back pain is not normal at any age. If you have been living with chronic pain, see a doctor. Understand that Dr. Lipani recommends surgery only when absolutely necessary. Before this step, several other strategies are usually tried. Get the help you need for a comfortable life. Call (609) 890-3400 to reach our Princeton office or contact us here to schedule a visit to one of our satellite offices.