Age can bring on a slew of new aches and pains, especially in your back. Osteoarthritis (degradation of the cartilage between joints), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), and disk problems can all be to blame.
If your pain becomes chronic — lasting longer than three months — and interferes with your daily function and quality of life, you need treatment. But surgery isn’t always the answer.
You can address age-related back pain with a number of conservative treatments and achieve relief successfully. The following tips can help ease your pain so that you can get back to doing all the activities you enjoy.
Be patient with your body. In your youth, you may have been tempted to “push” through pain. Don’t do that any longer.
Give yourself extra time to perform chores so you can finish them slowly. Take breaks when cleaning the house or take on fewer tasks each day. Listening to your body goes a long way in not overdoing it and aggravating pain.
Highly inflammatory foods, such as refined grains, alcohol, processed meats, and sugar contribute to pain. When you switch to healthier foods, such as leafy greens, whole grains, lean proteins, and unsaturated fats, you reduce inflammation and — chances are — you’ll also lose a few pounds. Being of a healthy weight takes pressure off your spine, so you don’t have as much back pain.
Physical therapy and gentle movement increase circulation and put your muscles and joints in balance, which can help alleviate back pain. Consult with a physical therapist to help ensure your posture is on point as slouching or pitching your pelvis forward can contribute to back pain, especially if you’ve been holding yourself this way for your whole life.
Moderate cardiovascular activity, such as brisk walking and water aerobics, and simple core strengthening exercises like mat Pilates or yoga, help strengthen muscles that support your spine, allowing you to experience less pain.
Treatments that manipulate soft tissue and stimulate specific energy points on your body can help alleviate tight muscles and nerve pain. These include massage, acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, and dry needling.
If you’re considering trying any of these therapies for your pain, make sure to explain your symptoms and sites of pain clearly, so your provider can get at the root of your issue to reduce discomfort. Massage therapy, for example, can reduce tightness in muscles surrounding your spine that contribute to pain.
Medications and injections
Medications, such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, can help control back pain and provide relief.
At the Regenerative Institute of Newport Beach, we also offer advanced joint injections that deliver lubricating fluid directly to your places of pain. Some of these injections include hyaluronic acid, a natural compound that your body produces.
As you age, your body produces less hyaluronic acid, which can lead to joint pain. Hyaluronic acid injections improve function and reduce pain quickly and effectively without incisions, blood loss, or stitches.
To learn more about how you can care for an aging, aching back without having to commit to surgery, call the office or book a consultation online.