Many things come as we age. Experience, wisdom, knowledge, and, unfortunately, the pain too.
As we get older, we commonly experience a few more aches and pains than we used to.
However, when it comes to back and neck pain, it is not just a matter of “getting old.” In fact, age-related changes to the spine can be a significant contributor to back and neck pain.
But do not despair – just because you are ageing does not mean you have to live with chronic pain. With some knowledge and effort, you can take steps to prevent and manage back and neck pain, no matter your age.
What is the link between age and back and neck pain?
As we age, the spine structures undergo various changes that can contribute to back and neck pain.
- One common change is the loss of disc height, which might lead to spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal. This may cause pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness in the back, legs, or arms.
- Bone spurs, or small bony growths, may also develop on the spine and compress nerves or other structures, causing pain.
- Other factors may also contribute to back and neck pain. For example, poor posture, weak core muscles, and a sedentary lifestyle might all put extra strain on the spine and increase the risk of pain.
- Previous injuries, such as a herniated disc or whiplash, may contribute to ongoing pain, even years later.
- The development of osteoarthritis may cause the cartilage that cushions the joints to wear down over time, leading to inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
Symptoms of back and neck pain
Back pain symptoms
- Burning, dull, or sharp pain in your back. It can be constricted to a solo spot or cover a large area.
- Tingling sensation below or above your knee or leg numbness
- Achiness or stiffness anywhere from your neck to the tailbone (spine)
- Shooting pain radiates from the lower back to the buttocks, back of your thigh, towards your calf, and toes.
Neck pain symptoms
- Tingling sensation or numbness in arms
- Dull or sharp shooting pain in the neck
- Shoulder pain
5 prevention strategies for back and neck pain
Better to be safe than sorry. So, taking the following preventative measures may reduce your risk of developing back and neck pain, ultimately leading to a happier and healthier life.
- Maintain good posture
Poor posture might lead to muscle strain and pressure on your spine, causing back and neck pain. So, keep your shoulders back while sitting or standing, and hold your head high.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise is essential for maintaining good muscle tone and flexibility, which might help prevent back and neck pain. So, do at least 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise, such as walking or cycling.
- Lift objects correctly
When lifting heavy objects, hold your back straight and bend your knees. Avoid twisting or turning your body while carrying heavy items.
- Get enough rest
Sleep is vital for the body to restore and rejuvenate. Make sure you get enough restful sleep each night to allow your body to recover from daily stress and strain.
- Manage stress
Stress might cause muscle tension, leading to back and neck pain. Try to manage stress through deep breathing or meditation.
How can you treat back and neck pain?
Various treatment options are available for people suffering from back and neck pain. You might need surgical or non-surgical treatment depending on the severity of your condition.
Most of the time, back and neck pain are treatable with non-surgical therapies. Let us discuss them in detail.
Osteopathy is a physical treatment that involves manual hand movements for treatment.
However, an osteopath will first examine your body to identify the source of the pain. They will also assess if there are other potential problems in your body and treat your body as a whole.
Then, they might massage your body parts to mobilise the neck and spine. However, the massage and treatment technique can depend on your condition. They might use one or more methods to ease your pain.
The major aim of osteopaths is to manipulate muscles and bones and bring them back in alignment.
Neck and back pain Maidstone is emotionally straining, requiring you to refer to a rehabilitation psychologist. So, they might recommend yoga and meditation to relax your stress.
Also, mindfulness has proven to be helpful in the healing process.
- Lifestyle modifications
The first thing to heal or change anything is to accept them. Then, you can start making lifestyle changes to cope with back and neck pain.
· Take short breaks from monotonous work
· Avoid smoking
· Avoid activities that worsen your pain
Such lifestyle changes can not only help you feel better but also prevent the advancement of underlying issues.
Tips for coping and living with back and neck pain
- Stay physically active with exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles around the spine. Yoga and swimming might also help relieve pain and improve flexibility. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight may also reduce strain on the back and neck.
- Anxiety and stress might worsen the pain. Nevertheless, mindfulness techniques, like meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation, might aid in reducing stress and anxiety.
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy might help change negative thought patterns that increase pain perception.
- Good posture and ergonomics at work can also help prevent pain. A supportive chair, adjustable desk, and regular breaks can help reduce neck and back pain Maidstone.
- Finally, seeking support from loved ones or an Osteopath may help improve coping skills and manage pain.
As you grow old, some level of back and neck pain is inevitable. However, there is one way to prevent SEVERE pain – weight management.
Every pound on your body pressurises your musculoskeletal system while doing any activity. The less pressure you put on your muscles and bones, the better they might function. So, maintain a healthy weight.