Lower Back Pain in Seniors

Lower Back Pain in Seniors

Lower Back Pain in Seniors

Low Back Pain (LBP) is a major disabling condition among older adults above 60 yrs. of age. Pain is mainly associated with joint decay in the spine. Females are twice more likely to have LBP. Most cases are self-limiting and nonspecific. Pain Killers are often prescribed to most seniors in standing doses to relieve pain.

Common causes


Symptoms: Lower back pain and stiffness most marked in the morning and at night

Combines any of the symptoms below:

·         Pain interrupts sleep.

·         Local tenderness when the affected spine area is pressed

·         Pain after activity.

·         Stiffness and loss of Flexibility.

Cause of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage at the joint wears down, leaving the bones without any protection against each other; it is the most common type of arthritis. It can occur at any joint in the body, though it is common in the spine.

Spinal stenosis

Symptom: lower back and Leg pain that occurs even after a short walk and stand upright

Includes any combination that cannot go far without leg pain

·         Sitting down quickly results in lower back pain relief

·         Symptoms progressively become worse over time.

·         Weakness, numbness, and tingling that moves from the low back into the buttocks and legs (sciatica).


Causes of Lumbar spinal stenosis or spondylosis degenerative

Narrowing of the bone channel in spine (spinal Stenosis) occupied by the spinal cord and nerves, puts pressure on the nerves and can result in tingling, numbness, or pain.  Stepping upright, like when walking normally, increases nerve pressure and causes leg pain.

Spinal Compression Fracture

Symptoms: Sudden back pain onset, limited flexibility, loss in height

Includes one of these:

·         Back pain Sudden onset

·         Standing or walking usually aggravates pain

·         It's less intense to lie on one's back

·         Loss of height

·         Spinal flexibility limited

·         Deformity and handicap

Causes of spinal compression

Post-Menopausal women with Osteoporosis, long term corticosteroids Even a small amount of force placed on the vertebrae can cause a spinal fracture in a person suffering from osteoporosis.


5 Symptoms that May Indicate Emergency

1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.

2. Radiating pain:  Radiating pain could be a sign of nerve damage.

3. Sudden weakness in the legs:  Sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.

4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.

5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anaesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition. 

Simple, Natural Treatments for Chronic Back Pain in Seniors

1. New, High-Quality Mattresses:

Offer good relief by providing proper support to the neck and back

2. Better Diet:

Healthy fats (flaxseed oil, avocado oil, olive oil, etc.), fruits, vegetables, nuts, ginger, garlic, oatmeal, and lean protein sources all help reduce inflammation. Meanwhile, dairy, pastries, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, refined grains, and any heavily processed foods are best to avoid because they increase inflammation in muscles and joints.

3. Yoga:

Gentle hatha yoga or chair yoga class have shown positive outcomes like decreased pain, increased the range of motion and a greater sense of well-being for people with back pain.

 4. Acupuncture:

This is a gentle, alternative medicine approach to help ease and treat the aches and pains in aging bodies. Instead of treating symptoms, acupuncture helps treat the pain source naturally, without the use of drugs.

5. Massage Therapy:

Massage therapy improves circulation and reduces inflammation and swelling; studies have shown it to be effective in reducing chronic back pain, which may reduce a patient’s need for pain pills.