The average lifespan of a person has increased over the last decades due to advancements in the field of medicine.
Indeed the United Nations said that by 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 and over will triple.
This means there is a greater chance that those who are aged 60 and above can exceed the numbers of those who are less than 25 years in about 30 years.
But just because the advances in the medical field have exponentially grown does not entirely mean that age-related health concerns are eradicated. Far from it!
Lower back pain is a disabling health condition that many adults aged 60 and above suffer from. Moreover, adults 60 years old and above are recorded to be the second most common age group to visit physicians, with back pain being a common and frequent problem.
But what exactly causes their lower back pain?
And is there a back pain solution?
The spine is composed of 24 vertebrae, stretching from your skull to your tailbone. Its main purpose is to protect your spinal cord and add structure to your body. Each vertebra (spinal bone) are then linked by facets, they are tiny joints or discs filled with a jelly-like substance that serve as the cushion in case your body experiences an impact and acts as a shock absorbing element.
Now that you know what your spine is made of, here are the three most common reasons why older people suffer from back conditions.
1. Spinal Stenosis – As your discs degenerate with aging, the ligaments in your spine will thicken causing the passage of your spinal column to become narrow. This tightness can pinch your spinal cord and cause numbness, tingling and pain.
2. Change in Joint or Disc Matter – Your discs are there to serve as a shock absorber within your spine. But as years go by, the resilience of these discs degrades due to moisture loss and poor lifestyle choices as well. This makes the discs less effective in cushioning your vertebrae.
3. Spondylolisthesis – This is a condition in which one of your vertebra or spinal bone slides forward over the bone below it. It typically occurs in the lower spine as this is the part where pressure is most localized. In some cases, spondylolisthesis squeezes your nerve roots or spinal cord, causing pain and numbness that usually radiates from your back to your upper thighs.
How do you treat the problem?
Although there are many pain killers that are deemed safe to take, doctors will also take extra precaution in prescribing any medicine, especially to older adults.
Factors like small kidneys and inefficient liver are just a few of the reasons why it is not that easy to take any kind of medication. For example, older adults tend to have smaller kidneys due to their age.
Because of this anatomical factor, their kidneys have less renal blood flow and therefore their blood filtration is less effective. When your kidneys are in this state, your body typically finds it more difficult to expel the remnants of the drugs you have taken.
Likewise oral medication may not be as simple as it used to be. Older people tend to have intestinal changes. Their stomach acid levels have also changed. In conclusion, finding out the right drugs for seniors can be a challenge at first.
You have to see your physician before buying any meds in the pharmacy. They are the only people who have the credentials to recommend the right course of treatment for your case, and everyone is different.
If you are an older person suffering from back pain, keep in mind that you are at a higher risk of drug-related side effects compared to an average adult. These medications include analgesic and NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs).
If you are experiencing health-related problems particularly in your liver, kidneys or heart, you should never take any NSAID without your doctor’s approval.
It is true that every medicine may work differently on every person. However it also does not indicate that older people cannot get any potent treatment. Though current medical issues may heighten your risk of experiencing side effects, there are many kinds of treatment that you can choose from, including natural ones.
Make sure to talk to your doctor about what treatment is best for you. He can refer you to a therapist or prescribe drugs specifically designed for your case.