The chances of experiencing back pain gradually increase with each decade over the age of 50. Over time, vertebrae shrink and discs lose their sponginess, which means less cushioning with movement and increased susceptibility to developing related conditions that put pressure on nerves and joints. Back pain at this age can come from many sources, and Santa Monica spine surgeons examine 5 of the most common causes.
1. Facet Joint Osteoarthritis
As cartilage breaks down over time, friction on the joints can result in inflammation and the development of osteoarthritis of the spine. Pain is usually more pronounced early in the morning or when going to bed and is aggravated by certain movements.
If degeneration results in pressure on the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the human body, radiating pain, numbness, tingling, and general weakness may be experienced. Sciatica can be managed once the true source of the pain is discovered.
3. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
A gradual narrowing of spaces around the lower portion of the spine, lumbar spinal stenosis sometimes develops due to a weakening of vertebrae and lack of support from discs. Related leg pain is usually worse when walking or standing.
4. Degenerative Spondylolisthesis
With degenerative spondylolisthesis, degeneration causes a vertebra to slip over the one below it. The condition is often a contributing factor to spinal stenosis and may result in lower back and leg pain.
5. Spinal Compression Fractures
The sudden appearance of back pain may be the result of a compression fracture. Most common in postmenopausal women, seniors with osteoporosis, and patients who have regular corticosteroid treatments, compression fractures may also result in spinal deformities and a reduction in height as the backbone become unstable.
Age-related back pain can sometimes be minimized with regular exercise and making dietary adjustments to compensate for changes in the ways the body absorbs essential nutrients. Maintaining a healthy weight and being mindful of posture can also help compensate for structural changes. If the pain is severe, seniors may need to inquire about the spinal fusion surgery Santa Monica professional physicians provide.
Trust in Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of professional physicians at The Spine Institute to diagnose the cause of your back pain and find a solution for pain relief. Call our office today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person consultation.