Aging has it’s perks. Wisdom, perspective, self assurance, and so much more. But let’s face it, there are a few less than pleasant side effects as well… like sore joints, creaking limbs and oh, the aching back!
Many people write lower back aches and pains off as “par for the course” when it comes to aging, but the truth is the spinal anatomy is very complex, consisting of strong muscles, flexible ligaments and tendons, vertebrae, discs, highly sensitive nerves and nerve roots. Considering that it’s no wonder that back pain can be such a … well, PAIN!
Whether you suffer from back pain periodically or regularly it can put a real damper on enjoying your day to day activities. In fact it’s one of the leading causes of job-related absenteeism and disability.
The good news is that there are solutions to treat back pain! And some of them might surprise you….
- Let’s start off with the most obvious: practicing good body mechanics. The way we hold our bodies when we walk, stand, sit and even sleep, affects our lower backs. So learn and practice good body mechanics and posture habits.
- The next obvious one is a massage. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – massage can be viewed as a treat, but it’s also a treatment. While massage can be a once-in-awhile scheduled appointment, routine appointments offer big benefits. Massage is a way to maintain balance, relaxation, and regular rejuvenation. With all the wear and tear we put our backs through, it deserves some TLC! All you have to do is schedule it, and show up. Not bad, right?
- Spinal health may not be the main incentive for a healthy diet and weight control, but it is an added perk. We know that a balanced diet is has a good effect on our health and bodies and how it effects your back is no exception! Carrying around extra weight burden’s your back, so avoid eating processed and sugary foods, eat lots of vegetables and make sure you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Exercise is a wonderful preventative measure to ensure a healthy, strong back… and it’s never too early (or too late) to start. Talk to a professional about an appropriate exercise routine to build up your back and abdominal muscles. These muscles support the spine, so whether you fancy aerobics, yoga, pilates or water sports, find one that works for you and talk to a trainer to make sure you’re in proper form.
- If you still need a reason to quit smoking, let this be it. Besides for all the health issues we already know smoking causes, a less known fact is that smoking affects spinal health. Smoking makes it harder for your body to absorb calcium and build new bone, it also cuts down on blood flow to the discs which makes smokers more susceptible to disc degeneration.
- Here’s the surprising one: mindful meditation. It’s true… according to a study done in March 2016 by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, mindfulness meditation can be helpful for older adults coping with back pain. It’s got a few additional perks as well, so go ahead and give it a try!
- In some cases, back pain will need medical intervention. There are medications, physical therapies and even surgeries that are sometimes needed. If you are experiencing back pain on a regular basis, consult with your doctor about which solutions are right for you.
Start treating your back the way it needs to be cared for… we promise, your body will “have your back” tenfold!