Whilst there are many benefits to getting older and much joy to be found in later years, generally, we have to concede that our health and fitness will be harder to maintain as the years’ pass.
Fortunately, regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and your immune system resilient.
However, some parts of our bodies are more vulnerable to the general wear and tear of ageing no matter how well we eat or how physically active we’ve been in our younger years.
Although this may be somewhat inevitable, that doesn’t mean that when it happens we have to shrug it off and learn to live with it.
There are many ways now to treat, manage and strengthen our bodies as we age, so that we may keep ourselves as mobile and pain-free as possible.
Is Back Pain A Part Of Getting Older?
Providing our core structural support, our backs are responsible for keeping our spines protected and our bodies mobile.
Our lower back, in particular, supports our upper body and our back muscles enable us to bend, twist, turn our heads and extend.
So, it’s no wonder that given all they go through and all they’re responsible for, our backs suffer from increased strain as we get older.
Even those who have never experienced back problems in their spine before may start to experience regular aches and pains as they move into their 50s and beyond.
Most often caused by a natural wearing of spinal discs, joints and other spinal structures, we may experience strains or sharper pains that come and go or a less acute dull ache that lingers.
Such aches and pains can impact our well-being and affect our quality of life.
Back pain in the morning, for instance, can make it very difficult to get moving, meaning you’re missing out on the earlier part of the day.
Back pain at night can disrupt sleep which can exacerbate other issues because lack of sleep deprives the body of its time to rest and repair.
Or maybe back pain in your older years is preventing you from taking the dog on longer walks or impacting your ability to run around the garden with the grandchildren.
Just because your back pain may be degenerative doesn’t mean it can’t be treated or managed.
In fact, although the ageing process cannot be reversed, in some cases, it can be slowed down.
There are also many simple ways of adapting your lifestyle that can help you to cope with the effects of ageing and allow you to continue to live a full and vibrant life.
Back Pain Treatment Options
Movement And Exercise
It’s never too late for exercise to have a positive impact on your life and health.
If you’re beginning to experience age-related back pain or other strains in the body, then a practise such as yoga or pilates might help in keeping the body more mobile and movement more fluid.
You should consult your doctor or a medical professional, such as a Chiropractor, before beginning any new exercise routine to ensure that it won’t be risking any further harm and you should also make your yoga instructor aware of any existing ailments or discomfort during classes.
This will help them adapt the practice to meet your abilities and protect you from over-exertion.
When properly taught and practised, yoga has been found to help maintain flexibility and strength and has been used as an effective lower back pain treatment in Surrey for those getting older.
Chiropractic Treatments For Degenerative Back Pain
As many people age and experience pain in the upper or lower back, they find chiropractic treatments the best long-term solution.
Chiropractors will use a range of techniques depending on where the pain is and why it has developed.
Rehabilitation sessions may be needed if back pain has been caused by an injury.
However, there are many other methods used by chiropractors for degenerative back pain treatment in Surrey and the wider UK. These include:
- Range Of Motion Exercises
- Massage Therapy
- Soft Tissue Manipulation
- Spinal Manipulation And Decompression
- Joint Mobilisation
Chiropractors will also work with you to address the impact that your back pain is having on your mobility and quality of life and may recommend some lifestyle changes to help support your back pain treatment.
Chiropractic treatments are non-invasive and, although disc degeneration cannot be reversed, they can often improve joint function and treat the symptoms.
Adapting Your Sleep For Back Pain Relief
Sleep becomes even more important as we age, however, it can also be more challenging to achieve a good night’s sleep. Sleep is when our bodies recover.
When our minds rest and our bodies repair and regenerate cells. Think of it as a computer system update that takes place overnight.
Yet, many parts of ageing make sleep harder. As we’re likely no longer producing growth hormones, our sleep becomes less deep meaning we wake up far more easily during the night.
Less settled sleep can lead us to sleep in awkward and unnatural positions which can lead to aches, strains and pains.
In turn, existing back pain and degenerative back pain can make sleep challenging.
When our body is not able to properly rest, our muscles are not getting the time they need to repair and replenish tissues.
Therefore, it is important, that alongside back pain treatment, you’re doing all you can to encourage your body to get the quality sleep it needs.
There are several sleeping positions that may relieve back pain as you sleep, allowing you to properly rest and take the weight off of your spine.
5 of the recommended sleep positions when suffering from back pain are described at Healthline.
Three of these involve using a pillow to keep your spine in better alignment.
Other things we can do to encourage a good night’s sleep as we get older include:
- Eating smaller dinners and eating earlier so your body is not busy digesting as you rest
- Reducing caffeine
- Doing some exercise during the day
- Avoiding drinking alcohol and avoid drinking anything too close to bedtime
Anti-inflammatory and NSAIDs For Back Pain Treatment In general, pain relief should not be used as an ongoing method of managing pain over a sustained period.
Pain relief should be resorted to when recovering from injury or for short periods.
Daily pain relief to manage degenerative back problems is not usually recommended because NSAIDs can cause their own issues and can interfere with the effectiveness of other medications you may be taking.
Over 65s, for instance, are often not recommended to take Ibuprofen due to the increased risk of stomach ulcers.
Always seek advice from a medical professional before taking medication and see your doctor if you’re taking pain relief regularly or for more than two weeks, even if it’s non-prescription.
Whilst pain relief can and should be used to ease discomfort, for ongoing issues more long-term solutions should also be explored.