As we get older, aches and pains in the back and neck seem inevitable as is our hair turning gray. Back pain and gray hair are just facts of life.
Suffering back pain?
You are probably between the ages of 40 and 60. Science says “it’s normal and prevalent for this age group”. However, if you have this kind of pain at a younger age, it’s nothing to be too concerned about. Aging spine can begin as early as age 30.
As a matter of fact, upwards of 85% of people experience back and neck pain. Back and neck pain is the most common reason to miss work and the leading cause of disability.
On the side of caution, if you are experiencing significant pain that interferes with daily life, get checked out by a physician. For example, if the pain has lasted more than a few weeks, it wakes you up at night, or you feel tingling, numbness, or weakness in your limbs.
Reasons for back pain
The three most common reasons for develop back pain are:
- Degenerative disc changes are directly related to age, lifestyle, and genetics. Cartlidge that is the center of the disc breaks down, and the inner gel material slowly seeps out, leaving discs vulnerable to wear and tear.
- Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of that spine that sometimes occurs because of some time of defect or trauma.
- Spinal discs shifting & related issues likely occur because of arthritis or compression of nerve roots around the spine which causes discs to shift.
4 Things You Can to do to decrease back pain
One way to lower back pain is to decrease pressure on the spine by losing some weight. According to physicians, “every pound of weight puts 4 pounds of pressure when you walk and 8 pounds when you run”. Therefore, losing and maintaining a healthy weight will effectively take the strain off your spine and back muscles. By the way, if you are unsure what your measure of body fat is, approximately check out calculators offered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Posture, posture, posture – I know I have said this before. We are all guilty of slumping at our desks or leaning to one side while standing. How you hold your body when you sit, stand or perform activities like bending and lifting should be correctly aligned. For example, when you are standing, imagine a straight line that passes through your head, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles when standing. While sitting, sit up straight, shoulders down, and chin level. Draw your shoulders back and squeeze shoulder blades and count to 5. Repeat three times.
Some traditional yoga poses help loosen tight lower back muscles, promote flexibility and blood circulation. Stretching isn’t a cure for back pain, but it definitely can relieve some of the pain. Keep in mind to not “over-stretch” and cause additional strain. In fact, check out some suggested stretches in article “Stretching and Age“. You can also check out specific yoga stretches at 7 Lower Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Build Strength.
Exercises – is a preventative measure to relieve and prevent future pain episodes. Exercising can strengthen and improve flexibility in muscles to support the lower back, starting with core exercises. Keep in mind while working the core muscles, you want to avoid anything that exacerbates your back pain. A couple of suggested exercise is a bird dog, tabletop, glute bridge, and forearm plank. If you are unsure how to do these exercises, click here; 10 Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain Relief.