Low back pain is the most common health problem among older adults that results in pain and disability – so there’s every reason for everyone to take notice of the advice and information that is freely available during BackCare Awareness Week which runs this year from 8-12 October.
We find that most elderly patients will be suffering from non-specific low back pain – this means it isn’t caused by a pathological condition. Many of these pains can be extremely self-limiting, but osteopathy can greatly improve recovery rates.
One of the biggest causes of back pain is facet joint osteoarthritis. The facet joints are the moveable links between each bone in our spine – these joints give us our flexibility and allow for our bodily movements.
Between each vertebra, there are two joints, and when these become worn out, can result in pain and restriction of movement in the spine (for instance, difficulty getting up from a sitting position and straightening up).
Then there’s also sarcopenia. This condition manifests itself as a lack of muscle tone which occurs as we age – usually after the 50 mark. If we do not exercise as we get older then we do not have enough muscle power to move the joints which then leads to an increase in arthritis of the joints because of lack of use.
So how can osteopathy help?
Osteopathy is great for helping the elderly if they are more active – those who are bed-bound or suffer with extremely limited movement are much more difficult to help. So it’s vital to get yourself active now if you aren’t already! More movement means you’re less likely to find yourself sitting in a chair for hours on end which only perpetuates pain and stiffness.
Small changes in your lifestyle can lead to big changes. Here is a quick list of things that you can do to get yourself more active and help your wellbeing in the long run:
- Eat protein-rich foods for your muscles
- Regularly go to the gym or attend an exercise class
- Don’t stay sitting for longer than 20 minutes without getting up and walking around
- Don’t sleep in a chair in the afternoons – lay down and keep your spine supported
- Take vitamin D supplements
It’s a sobering thought that the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in older adults ranges from 65 to 85%, with 36 to 70% of them suffering from back pain. Get in touch with us today on 01722 512 043 and find out how we can help to prevent it.