Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
How Can You Prevent Back Sprains
Staying active is essential to avoiding back injuries. Engage in regular aerobic activities and stretching exercises to build strength, endurance and flexibility. Staying active also helps you decrease excess weight, which is a major risk factor for back injuries. Pay attention to proper posture both standing and sitting. Move safety by employing proper mechanics when lifting objects and performing sudden movements.
What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
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Stay Away From The Back Pain League
Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. Its time to raise awareness.
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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Nine Precautions That Can Help Prevent Warts
The virus that causes warts, human papillomavirus , spreads easily from person to person, and its found everywhere. For these reasons, it can be difficult to prevent warts completely.
Avoid touching someones wart. HPV is contagious. Its possible for the virus to get inside your body through a cut or scratch, which can cause a wart.
Make sure that everyone in your home has their own towels, washcloths, razors, nail clippers, socks, and other personal items. If someone in your home has a wart, this helps prevent the virus that causes warts from spreading from one person to another.
Clean and cover cuts and scrapes. HPV is everywhere. If you touch something contaminated with HPV, its easier for the virus to get inside your body through a cut or scrape, which could lead to a wart.
Wash your hands often. Because HPV is so common, this helps to remove the virus from your skin.
Prevent dry, cracked skin. When skin is cracked and dry, its easier for HPV to slip in through a crack in your skin, which could cause a wart.
Stop nail biting and cuticle chewing. When you bite your nails or cuticles, it causes sores and tears in the skin that are too tiny to see. These openings make it easier for HPV to get inside your body.
Dont Slump Over Your Desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. Its critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
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How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
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When A Dermatologist Can Help
While you can often clear a wart at home, some warts can be stubborn. If the person has a weakened immune system, it can be difficult to get rid of warts. Sometimes, what looks like a wart turns out to be a callus or another type of growth.
A board-certified dermatologist can help by:
Making sure that you or a family member has warts
Treating stubborn warts
Sometimes, warts can be stubborn, so they dont clear with treatment that you can buy without a prescription. A dermatologist can create an effective treatment plan.
Musicians who play an instrument with their lips can develop a lump on their upper lip called a trumpeters wart. This is actually a callus thats best left alone.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImage 1: Getty imagesImage 2: Image used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: JAAD Case Rep. 2018 14 4:772-3.
ReferencesCenters for Disease Control. HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating your teen or preteen. Page last reviewed August 23, 2018. Page last accessed December 17, 2018.
Kirnbauer R, Lenz P, et al. Human papillomavirus. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1183.
Kunin, A. Warts. In: The DERMAdoctor Skinstruction Manual. Simon & Schuster. United States, 2005:292-7.
Milgraum S, Gold E, et al. The musicians mark. JAAD Case Rep. 2018 14 4:772-3.
Tasti A, Piraccini BM. Nail disorders. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1030.
Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency
1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.
3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.
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Get A Prenatal Massage
A certified prenatal massage therapist can bring quick relief when back pain is acute, especially when it’s the result of muscular clenching that irritates nerves and sends pain signals to the brain. Research has shown that in addition to relieving pain, regular prenatal massage can help alleviate depression and anxiety in pregnancy.
Swedish massage is the most common and advisable method of prenatal massage because it is gentle and soothing, and it uses long, smooth strokes that won’t aggravate the joints or push fluid through the body in an unhealthy way. Pregnant people should first consult with their doctor to make sure prenatal massage is safe for them and then make sure to work with a prenatal massage therapist who is certified. To be comfortable on the massage table, a side-lying position is usually best.
Secret #: Chiropractic Care/adjustment
When your back hurts, unless you are 100% certain that its due to an accident or injury of some type, most of us assume that we simply overdid it. As we age, we might begin to wonder if our back pain stems from some age-related issue like arthritis or disc degeneration.
This is because most of our body works this way. When we have a sore throat, its usually due to overuse or an infection, for example. Our back is different in this way, however. Some people have bulging or herniated discs and never complain about pain while others have no abnormalities that can be seen and yet suffer from chronic back pain.
This is why chiropractic care is invaluable. When your GP cant find anything wrong, he might give you some pain pills and send you on your way. Your chiropractor, however, understands that there must be a root cause and by doing a thorough exam and history, they will find and correct the problem.
Your chiropractor is a highly trained specialist who can help you to avoid unnecessary surgery and addictive pain medication. Your treatment plan will be specialized for your exact needs using time-tested, holistic, non-invasive methods that allow your body to heal itself naturally.
This is because your chiropractor is a specialist in the musculoskeletal aspect of the body. If you had problems with your ears or throat, your GP would send you to an ear/nose/throat specialist, so it makes sense to see a chiropractor for problems involving the joints, muscles, and spine.
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Make Sure You Implement Cardiovascular Training In Your Workout Routine
This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.
Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, dont start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.
Stretch Only If You Have Tight Muscles
I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.
Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesnt make sense if youre already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.
If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Dont stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after youve woken up.
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When You Should Go To The Er For Back Pain
If your back pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, head to your closest emergency room because you could be dealing with a more serious condition or injury:
- Sudden spike in pain, discomfort, weakness or numbness
- Loss of bladder function
- Unexplainable weight loss
- The pain results from a fall or severe blow to your back
If you experience any of these symptoms, its a good idea to talk to your doctor so you can determine next steps for managing pain.
Secrets For Getting Rid Of Back Pain Fast And Naturally
For those who suffer from low back pain or any type of back pain, to be honest, it might seem as if life is passing you by.
A great many people spend the majority of their days sitting. You sit during your commute, you sit all day at the office, you sit to eat lunch, you sit for the commute back home, sit during dinner, and then sit watching Netflix.
All this sitting sounds like a dream, right? But what it is doing to your back is a nightmare. Sitting puts so much pressure on your lower back and spine that its no wonder it ends up hurting!
The Worst Part? The worst part about back pain is that once it rears up, it seems so difficult to get rid of! You try changing chairs, you adjust your posture, you rub it, you stand up and stretch, you might even try walking around. Walking feels good for a few minutes, but then its back.
How can you get rid of lower back pain? Its a frustrating problem!
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Sitting Is The New Smoking
Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isnt sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.
The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, thats why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.
Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore cant function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins cant be properly transported, the joints get damaged.
What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The vast majority of patients experience back pain because of mechanical reasons. They strain a muscle from heavy lifting or twisting, suffer a sudden jolt in a car accident, experience stress on spinal bones and tissues resulting in a , or suffer from osteoarthritis, a potentially painful degeneration of one or more spinal joints. Common causes for low back pain are:
- mechanical or functional injury
- active infection
To choose the safest and most effective therapy, doctors need to consider the full spectrum of possible underlying issues, such as inflammatory conditions, fracture, infection, as well as some serious conditions unrelated to the back that radiate pain to the back.
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Chronic Lower Back Pain
When back pain continues for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Although for most people an episode of back pain is over by that time, in some cases it progresses and can have a major impact on ones ability to function. For some patients, physical therapy with local heat or ice application , combined with a home exercise program and education in proper positions for lifting and other movement techniques can make a major difference. Patients must learn to tolerate a certain degree of pain, or they may allow themselves to become more disabled than necessary. Patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery have had success with graded exercise to work through the pain, gradually increasing the exercise quota at each session so they can learn to tolerate more exercise in spite of the pain, and get back to work and activities. Read more detail on this topic in .