There’s nothing that can be done to stop the age-related wear and tear affecting the discs cushioning your spine. However, according to Beverly Hills spine surgeons there are positive lifestyle adjustments you can make to reduce or slow the age-related disc degeneration that often leads to increased instances of back pain as you get older.
1. Getting Regular Exercise
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get 2 to 3 hours of moderate-intensity activity per week or roughly an hour or so of vigorous activity daily if you don’t have an existing back condition. Yoga, water-based exercises, and core-strengthening routines can also be good for your spine and its discs.
2. Watching What You Eat
Your spine and its adjacent parts need certain nutrients to remain healthy. Focus on eating foods rich in bone-strengthening calcium and vitamins C, D, and B12. The FDA recommends a diet that includes green, leafy veggies, citrus fruits, berries, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats like those found in some fish.
3. Adopting Good Posture
Watch how you sit and stand throughout your day. Switching positions periodically can also reduce excessive pressure on any one part of your spine.
4. Sleeping Better
Excessive tossing and turning and sleeping on your stomach should be avoided if you want to reduce the risk of pain from disc degeneration. Opting for a medium-firm mattress, the support level recommended by the Better Sleep Council, can also help maintain the natural alignment of your spine.
5. Staying Hydrated
The discs of your spine need moisture to remain spongy and flexible, especially if they’re already thin from age-related wear. Stick with the standard recommendation of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
6. Avoiding Smoking
Cigarette smoke contains compounds that affect how nutrients travel through your blood vessels to your spinal discs. Most of the negative effects of smoking can be reversed simply by quitting.
Most of the time, back pain from disc degeneration can be managed by keeping muscles that support the spine strong. While age-related disc wear will continue, the discomfort level tends to stabilize at some point, usually around the age of sixty. Surgery is rarely necessary for disc degeneration.
In some instances, patients experiencing chronic low back pain related to disc degeneration opt for lumbar artificial disc replacement. Learn more about this procedure and other treatments for back pain by calling (310) 828-7757 today and scheduling an in-person consultation at The Spine Institute.