There is a lot that comes with age. Wisdom, experience, and unfortunately sometimes, pain. The aging process can affect your cervical spine, neck, shoulders, upper back, and arms. This is not to say that everyone will develop back and neck pain as they age, however, everyday wear and tear of our spines can lead to degenerative spinal conditions. So, what exactly contributes to back and neck pain as we age and what can we do about it? Read on to learn.
What Causes Back Pain in Old Age?
According to Penn Medicine, most people begin to notice back pain between the ages of 40 and 60. Some estimates say that upward of 85% of people will experience some sort of back and neck pain. There are many factors that can contribute to back or neck pain during the aging process.
- Discs – Discs are the gel-like cushions that rest between the vertebrae. They help maintain the natural curvature of your spine and allow your back to flex or bend. Their most important job is to absorb shock as you run or walk. If a disc ruptures, it leaks its jelly-like center and irritates the nearby nerves. This is what is called a herniated disc. While a herniated disc is the most common cause of back pain in both younger and older people, as you get older you have an increased risk of having a herniated disc because the discs dry out and become less spongy and pliable.
- Arthritis – Another common cause of back or neck pain is osteoarthritis. When we age, the cartilage that lines the vertebrae connected to our joints fades away. At the same time, the discs lose water and become narrow, which adds more pressure to the joints. This causes inflammation and can lead to back pain.
- Spinal Stenosis – Spinal stenosis occurs when one or more areas of the spine narrow. The narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves which causes pain, numbness, or cramping. Aging is one of the biggest risk factors for spinal stenosis.
How Should I Sleep with Neck Pain?
When you are dealing with neck pain, the best positions for sleep are on your side or your back because they are both less stressful on your spine than sleeping on your stomach would be. Sleeping on your back helps maintain your spine’s natural curves. According to Healthline, your head position should be only slightly raised so that it’s at a similar angle as when you’re standing. When sleeping on your side, it is best to use a pillow high enough to keep your neck neutral, but not too high that your upper ear is forced toward your shoulder.
Call Total Chiropractic Care for Back and Neck Pain
Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness can alleviate your age-related back and neck pain. We are proud to say that we have been helping our Long Island patients find relief and optimal health for more than 25 years. In addition to chiropractic care, we can also recommend exercise and lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life and overall health. Contact us today at (631) 447-2299 or fill out the contact form.