Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Time takes its toll on everyone, but aging can be especially hard on your back. If your spine is starting to show the signs of aging, know that there’s plenty you can do to help strengthen and support your spine. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at all the ways you can help prevent and treat back pain if you’re dealing with some common age-related spinal problems.
Protecting And Treating Age-Related Spinal Conditions
Even though back pain and discomfort is incredibly common as you get older, it doesn’t mean that you just have to learn to deal with it. There are a number of simple adjustments you can make to your daily life to help improve your spine health and reduce or alleviate symptoms. Here are some tips for seniors looking to keep their age-related spine pain at bay.
- Stay Active – Staying active is important if you have spine pain, even if they are just simple activities like going for a walk or swimming some laps in the pool. Inactivity can lead to weight gain and muscle atrophy, while activity can help increase your circulation and build muscles that help to support and stabilize your spine. Find little ways to be more active, and your spine discomfort should respond positively.
- Do Some PT Exercises – You can also improve your spine strength by pursuing some targeted exercise techniques in the form of physical therapy. Your spine specialist or a physical therapist can set you up with some simple exercises that develop key muscle groups in your spine. Doing your exercises for 10-15 minutes a day a couple of times each week can do wonders for your spine.
- Ice/Heat – Ice or heat therapy can also be very beneficial, especially after periods of activity. Ice can help to limit swelling and inflammation, while heat can help to alleviate muscle tension. Take a warm bath or apply a cold pack after activity and see how your discomfort responds.
- Posture Corrections – If you are hunching forward while you’re standing or sinking into an overly cushioned chair, your cervical or lumbar spinal segments may be handling more stress than you realize. Over the years, this mild stress can add up and contribute to problems like degenerative disc disease. Try to sit up straight and keep your head positioned directly above your shoulders when you’re seated or standing, and you may notice a decrease in posture-related symptoms.
- Anti-Inflammatories – Anti-inflammatory medications are a passive technique that can help to calm symptoms caused by inflammation. Anti-inflammatories won’t work to address the underlying issue, so consider taking them before or after some of the active interventions listed above like exercise or physical therapy.
- Stretching – Stretching is a great way to help your spine prepare for the stress that’s to come. Do some light stretching when you wake up in the morning or prior to activity so that your muscles can warm up a bit before you put additional strain on them. Stretching can help to prevent muscle tears or spasms.
- Know Your Limits – Overstress injuries are incredibly common as you get older because our spines can’t always handle the same amount of stress as we could in the past. Be aware of your limits and avoid taking on too much of a physical challenge. Don’t try to weed the entire garden in one day or go for a 10-mile bike ride on your first spring ride. Slowly build up your activity levels so that you don’t hurt your back because you overdid it.
- Connect With A Specialist – Finally, one of the best things you can do for your spine is to connect with a spine specialist in order to get set up with an individualized treatment plan. The above tips can be helpful, but nothing will be as helpful as professional advice tailored to your individual situation. Talk with a spine specialist and treat mild to moderate back problems, because left untreated, they only tend to get worse. Let a back specialist develop a plan to help you overcome your back pain.
For more tips on how you can combat age-related spinal issues, or to connect with a specialist so that you can fight back against your discomfort, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today at (651) 430-3800.