I'm Over 50—Is Back Pain Normal?

Women and men, over the age of 50, aren’t settling for “normal” when it comes to getting older. Thanks to cutting edge technology, it's easier than ever to look and feel young.

Wrinkles and lines can go away with lasers and dermal fillers. Highlights and flattering hairstyles can wipe out gray hairs or make them look chic. There are so many options now, so why can't you avoid back pain? Turns out, you can.

When you develop back pain after 50, you may feel that age has finally caught up with you. What can you do but grin and bear it? Remember, pain is never normal. Pain is a signal that your body's injured. No matter what age you are, when you first develop back pain, you shouldn’t have to suffer or mask the pain with medication.

At the Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management, triple board-certified pain management expert and anesthesiologist Mervet Saleh, MD, and her team can help you recover from back pain.

Why your back aches

When you consider how many structures make up your spine and how many other structures support it, you might wonder why you haven’t had back pain before. Your spinal column alone is composed of 33 bones. Between each vertebra is a cushiony bit of tissue called a vertebral disc, which looks like a jelly donut, but acts like a shock absorber.

Surrounding your bones and discs are tendons, ligaments, and 31 pairs of nerves. When the muscles and tendons in your core are weak, your spine may not get the support it needs to function.

Most of the time, back pain is "mechanical pain." You moved too quickly, lifted something heavy, or the structures in your back have deteriorated with age. Common mechanical causes of back pain also include:

Sometimes, your back pain is due to a medical condition, such as a tumor or infection. You also may be more susceptible to back pain if you have fibromyalgia or age-related conditions. Arthritis and osteoporosis can cause stiffness, pain, and even swelling in the back.

Dr. Saleh will conduct a thorough medical exam, take a complete history, and might order tests to determine the cause of your back pain. Once she identifies your issues, she'll custom-design a treatment plan that may include lifestyle adjustments as well as state-of-the-art therapies.

Get your back into shape

If your back pain is due to age-related changes, such as deteriorated discs, osteoporosis, and arthritis, Dr. Saleh may recommend a few lifestyle changes.

For instance, if you tend to be a Weekend Warrior, she might tell you to spread your exercise throughout the week to build strength and avoid acute injuries. Other lifestyle adjustments might include:

If lifestyle adjustments aren’t enough to address the reasons behind your back pain, Dr. Saleh may recommend long-lasting medical therapies, including:

No matter your age, back pain doesn’t have to be a fact of life. To find out why your back aches and to get long-term relief, contact us to schedule an appointment. 

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