Is My Chronic Back Pain Normal if I'm Over 50?

By The Spine Center

There’s a joke about aging making the rounds on Facebook. It goes like this: A fun part of your 30s is waking up thinking you’re hungover and then remembering, nope, this is just how my body feels now.

Gen-Xers and baby boomers probably read that joke and think that 30-year-olds don’t even know how bad it can get.

Aches and pains are an unavoidable part of aging. Our bones, joints, tendons, and muscles all wear with use. Just like a machine, our parts sometimes need to be recalibrated or even replaced.

The spine is one of the most complicated and intricate sections of the body’s machine – it contains 33 bones and too many muscle, tendon, and ligament groups to name. It makes sense that such a complex area could get worn out in certain places.

Unfortunately, a lot of people experience back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their life. Back pain accounts for 264 million work days lost a year and at least $50 billion in health care costs each year.

If you’re among the millions of people who suffer from chronic back pain, The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge can identify and treat the source of your pain.

What causes chronic back pain?

There is no singular cause of chronic back pain, especially as we age. A lot depends on how you define “chronic.” Johns Hopkins University states that chronic back pain worthy of a visit to the doctor lasts at least three months.

While that knocks out pain issues that can be solved with a massage or some over-the-counter painkillers, the range of possibilities still runs from traumatic injury to lifting too many heavy boxes in a row. Some of the most common sources are:

  • Muscle or ligament strain
  • Bulging or ruptured discs
  • Arthritis
  • Skeletal irregularities
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sciatica
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Even if you think you know the source of your back pain, it’s worth a trip to see a specialist. The doctors at The Spine Center will identify the exact source of your pain and set a course for recovery.

How is chronic back pain treated?

It sounds like a cliche, but a lot of your back pain may have something to do with your current lifestyle. Johns Hopkins recommends mindfulness and meditation, diet changes, and lifestyle modifications as potential solutions.

Physical therapy is likely in your future as well, where your therapist can work on retraining your posture, aerobic exercises, and strengthening your core.

Some chronic back pain sufferers swear by alternative treatments, like acupuncture and biofeedback therapy. Although not intended to be used in isolation, any of the treatments listed above may be combined with injection-based treatments such as, epidural steroid injections and Pharmacologic treatments, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and opioid painkillers.

Finally, if other non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments fail to produce the necessary results, surgery may prove to be the best solution for your chronic back pain.

To reiterate, chronic back pain over the age of 50 is absolutely not normal. Request an appointment online or call The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge today. We’ll diagnose the cause of your back pain and set up a custom treatment plan to get you on the road to recovery.