Back pain as a result of age-related changes

Our bodies naturally change as we grow older. Some of these changes are experienced as a result of day-to-day living, while others are brought on from lifestyle choices such as smoking, lack of exercise and carrying excess weight. Regardless of what causes these changes, they can sometimes lead to painful and debilitating health conditions. The neck, back and spine are definitely subject to pain as a result of the aging process.

How age affects the spine

Some areas of the neck, back and spine that can be affected by age-related changes include:

  • Spinal discs. As we age, the spinal discs, which provide cushioning between the vertebrae, experience a great deal of change. The tough cartilage on the outside of the discs becomes less elastic and less able to withstand the pressure being placed on them. This can lead to bulging or herniated discs and a number of other painful conditions.
  • Vertebrae. These bone structures surround the spinal cord and nerve roots, while supporting the upper body. Like most of our bones, the vertebrae are vulnerable to developing bone spurs, which are protrusions of the natural bone structure. Bone spurs develop in response to continued stress and pressure and may lead to significant discomfort.
  • Facet joints. Our vertebrae are connected by facet joints, which allow for the movement and flexibility of the spine. Since these joints are almost always in motion, they experience a great deal of wearing as we age. As a result, many people develop osteoarthritis in the facet joints.

Symptoms and treatment

The age-related changes that occur in the neck, back and spine can lead to pain, numbness, tingling and a wide array of additional symptoms that are associated with spinal conditions. Upon diagnosis of a degenerative spine condition as the underlying cause of back pain, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options including physical therapy or over-the-counter medication. If you have been experiencing neck or back pain for months or longer and conservative treatments have not provided you with relief, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgeries are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures, offering our patients a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication.^

Ask for your free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.