Oct 23

Back Pain: Does Not Need to Be Part of Your Life

by Tammy Lussy

Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints and affects eight out of ten people in their lifetime. Aging, trauma, injuries, and poor posture all contribute to back and neck conditions. What can you do?

Educating yourself is a good first step.

There are many natural changes that occur as the body ages. Changes in our backs are part of those alterations. According to experts, some of the changes occur in your bones, spine alignment, and cartilage. As the body matures, its ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D decrease resulting in a loss in bone density. The bones of the spine, called vertebrae, are one of the most susceptible body parts to these changes.

Additionally, as the vertebrae become less dense and the cushions of tissue (disks) between them lose fluid and become thinner, the spine becomes shorter. This is why many people become shorter as they age. (source: http://www.merckmanuals.com)

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases of aging and is the result of the cartilage that pads the joints changing with age and wear-and-tear. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of back pain. While it cannot be cured, there are treatments for this condition.

To fight back and neck pain, talk to a physician about treatment options. There are a wide range of therapeutic regimens, from prescription medication, physical therapy, exercise programs, and weight loss assistance, to surgical treatments. Many health-care centers provide a team approach to back pain. Some hospitals offer a full range of non-invasive/non-surgical treatments with a dedicated spine team in place at the facility. Whether your situation requires precision surgical procedures, or combinations of therapeutic approaches, look for personalized patient care and customized treatment plans coordinated across the medical team for optimum recovery results.

Aging is a natural process, but back pain doesn’t have to be an accepted part of that process. Don’t let your back keep you from being active and independent. There’s no time like the present, be educated and proactive in your treatment.

Tammy Lussy, RN, works at Community Hospital of Anaconda.

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