Is Back Pain Normal As You Age?

If your back has been hurting for weeks and over-the-counter pain relievers just aren’t working, it’s time to see the doctor. Chronic back pain — pain that lasts more than 12 weeks and doesn’t get better — limits your mobility and your lifestyle. You may no longer be able to enjoy sports or even go on walks in the neighborhood. Physicians at Boston PainCare are board-certified pain management specialists who get to the root of your pain and provide relief. 

Reasons for back pain 

Back pain disables millions of people across the globe. It’s one of the leading causes of workplace disability claims. Back pain may result from something as simple as twisting a muscle in your back playing tennis. But chronic back pain results from numerous more serious conditions stemming from an accident or the aging process. 

Following are some common causes of back pain. 

Herniated disc

Your spinal cord is composed of small bones called your vertebrae. You have spinal discs containing a soft, gel-like material that lies between each vertebra. Your discs act as shock absorbers when you bend, turn, walk, or run; otherwise, your vertebrae would rub against each other. 

From wear and tear as you grow older, or from an injury or accident, the discs may start to degenerate and the material inside starts leaking; you have a herniated disc. This condition can result in severe back pain as the leaking disc affects spinal nerves. 

Arthritis

Arthritis is a very common cause of back pain. You have joints on each side of your vertebrae called facet joints. Connective tissue called cartilage cushions your facet joints. Cartilage is composed of collagen and elastin, important proteins that keep it supple. As you age, or from an injury, the cartilage can begin to degenerate. Eventually, arthritis can cause the joints to push against each other without the cartilage cushion, causing debilitating pain. 

Sciatica

If you’re diagnosed with sciatica, your sciatic nerve has been compressed or squeezed between a disc and bone, causing pain that can radiate down your leg. 

Spinal stenosis

Your Boston PainCare physician may diagnose spinal stenosis. Your spinal canal may have narrowed, putting excess pressure on your spinal nerves. 

Spondylosisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is caused by a vertebra that has moved out of position, sometimes slipping over the bone below it. Some gymnasts develop this condition, but it also results from wear and tear as you grow older. 

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a curvature in your spine in the shape of an ‘s.’ It most often occurs during a child’s growth just before puberty, but it may also present in adults. Causes of scoliosis aren’t well known. The condition compresses muscles and spinal discs, causing pain. 

Expert treatment for back pain

Your physician at Boston PainCare employs treatments that involve both the mind and body to help relieve chronic back pain. We have an arsenal of strategies that we can employ to bring you back to health, from spinal cord stimulation to epidural injections to interventional therapies. 

Your treatment plan may also include relaxation and stress management strategies. There is definitely a mind-body connection; research indicates that relaxation training can help ease lower back pain. Call Boston PainCare or request an appointment through our online portal for expert care of back pain. 

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