While it is better to try and keep your spine healthy through your younger years to prevent spinal stenosis from occurring, once we reach the age of 60, it is considered normal to find degeneration in both the discs and the spine – much like those grey hairs that keep popping up and other hormonal changes that can occur with ageing!
Unfortunately, as the condition is degenerative, there is currently no wonder cure, though much can be done to reduce and manage the pain:
Physical therapy and prescribed exercises are used to strengthen the muscles, keep the spine flexible and increase endurance while maintaining motion. Pilates is an excellent exercise that is suitable for older people especially in a small group or individual setting.
If you are carrying excess weight then we strongly advise you lose some in order to take excess pressure off of your spine, as this puts more pressure on the joints and the back of the disc which will encourage more wear and bony growth.
Simply using heat pads, taking hot showers or even using ice packs may provide some relief to the symptoms.
If the pain is too severe, or the neurological symptoms get worse, then spinal injections may be offered to try and reduce the symptoms. For very extreme cases, surgery can be performed, however this is a last resort and isn’t offered until all other management options have been exhausted.
Although degeneration may be unavoidable due to one’s family history, occupation, life circumstance or other variables, there are ways of managing and slowing further degenerative changes. Such as…
- Strength training can help stabilise and support the spine. Done correctly, it will allow for optimal activation of muscles to allow safe and minimally painful movement.
- Correct desk ergonomics at home and in the workplace.
- Optimal general health, exercise and a balanced diet.
- Regular treatment by your osteopath to help maintain a strong, mobile back.
Your wellbeing is important to us! If you’re suffering with back pain, give us a call on 01722 512 043 to schedule an appointment with one of our osteopathy specialists.