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Back pain – a common problem in later life

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As one of the most common problems, many people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can severely impact our quality of life, affecting mobility and comfort.

Damaging or causing injury to your back over time is easily done and we’re more likely to feel the effects that gradually develop. As we get older, we may also feel the effects of long-term conditions like arthritis and inflammation issues that can worsen aches and pains in the back.

In cases like these, you would greatly benefit from assessment by your GP especially for issues concerning the spine. For problems occurring as the result of lifestyle and fitness, however, there many methods we can use to reduce or cope with back pain in later life.

Better posture

Not everyone is going to sit or stand up straight 100% of the time. It’s common for us to have moments where we slouch, drop our shoulders or lean forward over a desk. Doing this too much, however, puts unnecessary tension on our back muscles and can have an impact on the shape of your spine.

Improved posture doesn’t just help to reduce the risk of back pains; it can also encourage better mobility and weight balance over time too. Without the stresses and strains making things difficult for us, we can feel a boost in our energy levels and general wellbeing, making us happier and healthier all round.

Relaxing right

Prolonged anxiety or stress can cause us to tense up without realising it, so it’s important that we remember to relax as often as possible. Keeping the back muscles relaxed contributes to our overall feelings of comfort and reduces the risk of problems developing later on.

The way we sleep is also a key factor; many of us sleep in whatever position we find comfortable. Even though your sleeping position may feel natural, it can sometimes lead to aches, pains and stiffness developing in the back and neck. Potential improvements can include lying a straighter position – rather than curled up – and ensuring you have a good quality mattress.

Strengthening your core

Your core muscles – which include thighs, abdomen, hips and lower back – play a large role in supporting your whole body. Doing simple exercises like sit-ups, lunges or standing stretches helps to strengthen these muscle groups, reducing the overall amount of strain on your back in the process.

As we get older, it’s not always easy to carry out these exercises. However, there are several alternatives for people of all ages to enjoy. Yoga offers a much more gentle approach to traditional exercise and is especially useful for those who may have limited mobility. Many people in later life have found that practicing yoga is beneficial when it comes to managing back pain, amongst other issues.

Various therapies and wellbeing

While painkillers are often necessary to cope with various aches and pains, there are plenty of natural therapies that can help too. Massage therapy helps with relaxation, as well as improving blood circulation and reducing inflammation around the muscles. Aquatic therapies, like gentle exercises carried out in a heated pool, also aid movement and physical fitness.

A good diet can greatly aid with overall health and wellbeing in later life. As back pain is often an internal issue, maintaining a balanced diet can help our bodies to manage it effectively from the inside. Increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D helps to keep bones strong, while foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, oats and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties to aid muscles.