It’s no surprise that as we get older, we lose some of the flexibility we enjoyed in our youth. Over time, our spine becomes susceptible to wear and tear and the result can often be frustrating back pain. In fact, a herniated disc, stenosis (narrowing) of the spine, osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and tissue inflammation can all cause nerve compression and back pain. Plus, identifying the source of back pain in the elderly can be more challenging than in an otherwise healthy younger person, because a number of factors can contribute to a person’s pain as the years go by.
Causes of Back Pain
Here are some of the most common causes of back pain in older individuals:
- Degenerative disc disease and other intervertebral disc problems – when the soft, spongy discs that cushion the spine weaken and become herniated, they can protrude past their normal perimeters and irritate a neighboring nerve.
- Osteoarthritis – the vertebral facet joints, like all joints in the body, are prone to arthritis, which can reduce flexibility and lead to stiffness and soreness in the spine.
- Spinal or foraminal stenosis – the narrowing of the canals which house the spinal cord and the nerve roots, respectively. This gradual compacting of the nerves eventually leads to a variety of symptoms depending on the specific nerve affected.
- Bone spurs – these growths are made by the body as a natural healing mechanism, but should they come into contact with a nerve or other soft tissue, back pain can follow.
- And more – diseases, infection and injury can also be behind back pain in the elderly.
Various Treatment Options for Back Pain
As there are so many potential causes of back pain in the elderly, a trip to the physician is required to determine if a patient is suffering from a herniated disc, stenosis or any other form of spine deterioration. To learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatments of back pain, contact your physician or the team of spine surgeons at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) today.