Back pain in older people

Centro de la columna Vertebral: December 17, 2019

dolor de espalda en adultos mayores

Dolor de espalda en adultos mayores

Back pain in older adults is mainly caused by osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. This pain is known as low back pain and affects 80% of the population in general, especially after the age of 60, and it is accentuated in those who suffer from obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is the first cause of consultation worldwide (70%), and only 4% of cases require surgery. When low back pain is not adequately treated, it can cause frequent relapses and prevent the person from returning to his or her daily activities, causing prolonged periods of disability. The elderly are considered a high-risk segment of the population, among other things because of the health problems they suffer from. This condition is usually a consequence of the natural degeneration of the spinal joints, but this is not the only cause.

Lumbar canal stenosis, that is, the compression of nerves in the spinal area, aggravates the patient's back pain, making it impossible to walk. Likewise, other problems such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction, vertebral crushing, piriformis syndrome, vitamin D deficit, osteoporosis, a spinal cord tumor or fibromyalgia, are possible causes of this discomfort.

It is common for pain to occur suddenly and without precedent, so its duration depends on each patient; however, people with stress or depression tend to have chronic pain.

Is it normal for it to hurt?

There are studies claiming that geriatric patients experience back pain constantly. To determine that it is low back pain, the following symptoms must be recognized:

  • Sleep interruptions.
  • The pain is more acute in the morning and at night.
  • The pain is more severe after physical exercise.

The good news is that low back pain in older adults is treatable. Care for older adults includes lying down with your back on a comfortable surface and putting your feet up.

The use of painkillers and heating pads to apply heat is also recommended as a remedy. However, consulting a physician to determine the best treatment is essential.

Geriatrician María Luz del Carmen Candelas González, a physician associated to the Geriatric Service of the General Hospital of Mexico, recommends that older adults with low back pain should see a specialist to identify the causes of the condition.

Thus, based on X-rays and a complete evaluation we can determine:

  • Adequate treatment.
  • Exercise routines to strengthen muscles and ligaments
  • Apply heat.
  • Prescription of analgesics.

Having an ongoing medical evaluation is important because this pain leads to a loss of functional independence. The elderly must maintain good posture in their daily lives and those close to them must help them not to lead a sedentary life.

Schedule an appointment at the CCV

At theSpine Center we have a comprehensive, safe and effective treatment for conditions affecting the back (or spine). Go to your nearest Center and ask for an evaluation with our health professionals.

Schedule an appointment here

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“The information contained in this blog is of an informative nature; it seeks to promote good health habits in the population and by no means replaces medical consultation. Content reviewed and corrected by Dr. Armando Acevedo Mendez, orthopedics and traumatology specialist. Professional license: 602691".

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