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Back Pain and the Elderly

Aug 17, 2007
Even children can have back pain. But when a person gets older, there are certain conditions of age that are the main culprits in causing back pain. All too often this back pain will send the sufferer to their health care provider for some type of treatment.

Back pain is a bigger problem for the elderly; their health care providers see them often. What physicians do counter back problems is different for elderly patients than it is for a younger person.

Treatment of back pain involves more than simply handing out medication. The pain suffered by young adults, like a slipped disc, is not likely something you will see in a senior back pain sufferer. All too often the older you get the more likely your back pain becomes chronic. Many of the problems that cause back pain when a person ages are more serious, including degenerative conditions relating to the spine which are caused by the natural aging process. Other problems for seniors include serious infections and cancer.

Osteoporosis is a condition of the aged. It thins the bones causing them to have a higher incidence of breakage. This can be a dangerous problem, and the proximate cause of cracked vertebrae, hip or pelvis fractures, or a break in the ankle or wrist. With younger patients, with proper care, healing is expected. As you get older you may heal a little more slowly, and as you heal the pain will diminish. Older women seem to suffer back pain worse than older men.

If you have a fracture of the vertebrae, it can take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months for full recovery, depending on which vertebrae and how bad the fracture is. There can be some very severe pain connected to a fractured vertebra - and walking or standing may be done with considerable difficulty. In these cases, rest is highly recommended.

As one ages there are likely to be diseases cause back pain. These can be arthritis, hip diseases, sciatica or lower spinal degeneration. Degeneration causes the spine to become unstable. Degeneration usually happens when one of the discs is out of place, putting pressure on the other vertebrae. It can result in pressure also being put on the nerves, which can be very painful. It will often not only cause back pain, but may radiate pain down the legs. The pain will appear without warning, triggered by a sudden movement or too much lifting. This pain will come and go as the body is in motion or at rest.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Back Pain.
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