5 Ways Active Seniors Can Protect Their Back From Injuries

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 7, 2017

Senior Back Pain

You may have a few more gray hairs these days, but that’s not going to slow you down. Staying active as you get older is a great way to stay in shape and keep your muscles and bones healthy. However, you’re also more susceptible to injuries as your muscles, tendons and spinal discs have absorbed plenty of wear and tear over the years. We don’t expect you to slow down, but we also don’t want to see you in our clinic because you threw out your back during an activity. So today, we’re going to share five tips active seniors can keep in mind to ensure their spines stay healthy.

Warm Up and Stretch

Your muscles don’t stay as loose as they once did, so you’ll need to take some extra time to help them warm up. Before you jump on your bike or grab the rake to start raking leaves, spend 5-10 minutes stretching and warming up your spine and core. This way when you’re twisting, turning or bending, your body will be prepared for the motion.

Know Your Limits

This is a hard point to get across for many patients. We’re not saying you can’t be active, but you shouldn’t be up on a ladder hanging Christmas lights if you’re 80 years old. Too many patients end up in my office because they bit off more than they could chew. Nobody wants to admit that they aren’t as spry as they used to be, but if you end up taking things too far, you could suffer a spine injury that could severely limit your independence.

Take Breaks

This point is similar to knowing your limits, but it deserves its own section. No matter what the activity, we can’t go as long as we used to. Maybe you used to kayak around the lake or run five miles before work, but trying to do the same now would overstress certain areas of your spine. Cut exercise a little shorter, or make time for breaks along the way to take some stress off your spine.

Strengthen Your Spine

Another key to keeping your back injury-free as you get older is to continue working out and strengthening your spine and the muscles that support it. You can do this in the gym like you used to, or you can find more creative ways, like through a Yoga class at the studio down the street or with an exercise board.

Balance Training

Falls are also a big cause of spinal injury for seniors, so it’s important to continue working on your balance as you age. Classes like Yoga or Pilates can help keep spinal structures healthy while improving your balance, or you can perform some simple exercises on your own in the comfort of your own home. Just google “Easy In-Home Balance Exercises” and find a link with some exercises you’re comfortable with.

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