Back pain among older adults can be caused by a number of factors including their historical medical conditions and lifestyle. But what remains to be the number one cause for back pain in seniors is ageing itself.
As surprising as it may sound, it is indeed natural wear and tear of muscles and joints, specifically of the back area that causes severe back pain. In some cases it can become so chronic that it hinders the life of the patient, which makes senior life all the more difficult than it already is for many people.
To add to the concern, the senior population has been found to be the fastest growing section of the world’s population. And the incidence of pain issues is naturally on the rise. According to a study published in the journal Menopause Review, women specifically experience an increase in lower back pain with perimenopause and menopause.
Suffice it to say, whether or not a patient has had a bad history of physical health issues, back pain, apparently seems inevitable for seniors.
Thankfully due to advancements in technology and the emergence of new means to make the same available to the masses, there are ways to ease the pain and provide relief from many of the symptoms.
Apart from geriatric prescribed medication, there are many daily living aids designed specifically to help seniors are suffering or may be prone to developing back pain, like Obusforme products. The range consists of back and lumbar supports products among many other aids that allow senior patients to get on with their life, in spite of their back pain issues.
These living aids can help seniors in many ways. For example, a back rest provide sufficient cushioning and firm support for the back, which keeps seniors from exerting too much pressure on their back while getting up or sitting down. Similarly, a head rest provides support for the head, and lumber support aids take care of the entire lumbar area. All these support aids act as a relief for the muscles and the joints, which allows them to relax and not be strained all too often.
Medical treatment for back pain may include medicines as well as surgery in acute cases. The treatment plan essentially depends on the severity of the pain and the seriousness of the health condition
In addition to these, patients may also incorporate some physical changes in their lifestyles so as to keep pain at manageable levels. These include:
- Physical therapy which involves performance of mild and less intensive activities including stretches, weight lifting, cardio exercises etc. Physical therapy can also be passive in form, which is done using heat or cold therapy, ultrasound therapy etc.
- Restriction of activities that may aggravate the back pain. For example, hand-washing clothes or sweeping the floor etc. are activities that may require bending the back for long periods of time or exerting pressure on the lumbar area. It would be best to stay away from such activities.
- Yoga or Pilates are also being widely recommended by physicians to improve flexibility. It is known to stretch and strengthen muscles to improve posture.
Back pain aids such as belts or braces used in conjunction with these activities are highly recommended to boost effectiveness.
From a medical perspective, normal types of back pain with average severity may be tackled with over-the-counter pain relievers. Physician prescribed medications are widely available across dispensaries for this purpose.
In some cases, opioid pain relievers may be prescribed for chronic pain. It requires thorough check up and clear diagnosis to declare back as chronic. It also requires specialised recommendation by physicians to use opioid based pain relievers.
Other forms of medications that may be prescribed include muscle relaxants and steroid injections.
It should be noted that it is depending on the causes of the back pain, the level of pain and the severity of the condition that these medical remedies are prescribed. They need to be taken with caution as the patients may be allergic to specific medications or to ingredients used in the medication.
For seniors who may just be starting off on their senior life, there are some ways through which they can steer away from developing severe back pain. It again involves making a conscious effort to change a few habits and routines such as:
- Practicing good posture while sitting down and standing up. Making sure not to crouch while sitting and ensuring that the spine remains straight at all times
- Maintaining good health at all times; performing mild exercises regularly
- Making sure that the diet is healthy and balanced
- Avoiding harmful habits like smoking and drinking
- Making sure that the back and lumbar area remains free from too much exertion and pressure at all times.
In cases where severe, persistent and continuous back pain is experienced, it is always better to consult a physician immediately so as to take appropriate treatment and avoid complications.