As we age, bones and disks in our spine can degenerate over time, causing stiffness and soreness. Some will say it’s the normal aging process, but I don’t agree with this statement. Back pain doesn’t need to be part of your twilight years as long as you choose a healthy lifestyle which means exercising and a balanced diet.
But let’s see the most common reasons for developing back pain after 50:
- Degenerative changes in discs and joints
- Spinal stenosis
As we sail through life, our spinal cords narrows and puts pressure on the spinal nerves, causing an excruciating pain. This condition is known as spinal stenosis and can limit all sorts of activities and mobility.
However, if you’re taking care of your back properly you can relieve the pain at home. But if the back pain worsens over time, you should see a physical therapist.
When your back hurts, avoiding exercises is natural. However, for most types of back pain, lack of exercises and inactivity – especially bed rest – it may worsen your condition. Bed rest can slow the healing process and make your muscles weaker, tighter, and more painful. Although you do want to avoid activities that make your pain worse, stay as active as possible.
When you do rest, just try some positions to relieve your pain. One position that works well for many people with back pain is to lie on your back with your hips and knees bent, with pillows under your knees. Lying on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between them may also help.
Ice will numb the pain, while heat can loosen tight muscles. Apply ice or heat for 15 minutes at a time for one hour. Most people say that the heat/cold therapy when dealing with back pain is one of the best treatments.
- For icing, try an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas.
- For heating, try a hot water bottle or a heating pad – or take a warm bath.
A barrier, such as a towel, should be placed between the cold pack and the skin’s surface to prevent skin and nerve damage.
Preventing Back Pain
- Practice good posture when you stand or sit
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise to keep your back and abdomen strong and flexible
- Walk daily to reduce stress on your back