It’s not unusual to experience back pain as you get older, but it’s not inevitable this will happen. Spine-related discomfort also isn’t something you simply have to accept as a “normal” part of aging if you happen to be 60 or older. Having a better idea of what could affect your backbone and its parts later in life can provide an added incentive to adopt spine-healthy habits. Below you’ll find some of the more common causes of back pain at age 60.
Over the years, spinal discs are subjected to stress, strain, and wear. Degenerative disc disease is the term for this type of age-related disc wear, and it can be especially problematic for older adults who are overweight or those who previously worked in physically demanding professions. If you do have issues with your spine’s discs at 60, you may benefit from improvements in your posture and a personalized physical therapy routine. You can also minimize your risk of having disc-related issues later in life by:
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Getting regular exercise
• Adopting healthy eating habits
Granted, some spines do better by getting a break from the daily strain of manual labor after retirement. However, it’s also possible for an older spine to be overstressed from a shift to new hobbies or activities that are physically demanding in other ways. If you have plans to be more physically active during retirement in your 60s, ease into your new routine slowly to give your spine time to adjust to the different movements and motions.
Most women in their 60s have gone through menopause, which typically means sufficient amounts of the hormone estrogen are no longer produced. As a result, bones become weaker from a slowdown in the process of generating new bone tissue. Weaker bones, especially ones in the spine, are more susceptible to fractures or breaks. This doesn’t mean you have to slow down at 60, but you can take steps to keep your spinal bones strong as you age by:
• Eating more foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
• Talking to your doctor about appropriate supplements
• Being mindful of the stress you place on your spine
Older adults tend to be more willing to “push through the pain” or just learn to live with discomfort. If this applies to you, realize that by putting off treatment, you could end up making the problem worse. Even if the issue turns out to be fairly minor, you won’t know for sure what’s going on with your spine until you get an accurate diagnosis.
Another reason to see your doctor or a Santa Monica spine surgeon sooner rather than later is because of the wide range of treatment options available today, many of which don’t involve surgery. Plus, you’ll be able to focus more on the many good things that can be appreciated during the later years of life.
No matter your age, it’s important to preserve your spine health. If you’re over 60 and experiencing chronic pain in your back or neck, the expert surgeons at The Spine Institute may have a solution to help you find relief. We specialize in a variety of spinal procedures, from traditional spinal fusion to artificial disc replacement surgery. Santa Monica seniors can call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an appointment.