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CFO - Senior Care Central, LLC

Guest Blog: Managing Back Pain as You Age

Like other critical parts of the musculoskeletal system, the spine experiences some wear and tear over the decades. Does this mean back pain is inevitable as you get older? Not necessarily.

What Happens to Your Spine as You Age?
The spine itself is composed of a series of stacked bones called vertebrae. Small joints between each vertebra allow for the spine’s range of movement and little rubbery discs with jelly-like centers inside make sure bones don’t rub against one another (they also serve as the spine’s shock absorbers).

Over time, these disks can dry out, shrink, and wear away, causing the spine to compress. This is known as degenerative disc disease. Sometimes the space surrounding the spinal cord will start to narrow too; this is known as spinal stenosis. Arthritis and osteoporosis may also affect the spine as you age leading to joint degradation and even spinal fractures.

Any of these age-related conditions can contribute to back pain, especially when bones start rubbing against one another and nerves get pinched. The body may even go as far as to grow bone spurs in an effort to stabilize a degenerating spine.

Preventing and Managing Back Pain
So, is there anything older adults can do to prevent it or at least manage the pain and discomfort that comes with those types of conditions? Definitely.

Experts recommend taking actions to relieve some of the burden your spine bears during daily activity. This includes:

  • Exercising to strengthen your back and core to more properly support the spine
    Practicing good posture when sitting, using the computer, texting, etc.
    Wearing a back brace for added posture support and lumbar compression
    Eating a healthy diet rich with anti-inflammatory foods that help you maintain a healthy weight and combat systemic inflammation in they body – think fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and lean proteins
    Reducing stress on the back. This may mean utilizing lumbar cushions when driving, updating your mattress to better support your spine when sleeping, and avoiding activities which exacerbate your back pain

Additional Thoughts
Of course, it is also important to remember that acute back pain can also stem from something as simple as a muscle strain. Lifting something heavy, straining your arms and neck reaching for something in an awkward position, even sitting for a long period of time in an uncomfortable chair – any of these things can cause back pain and inflammation.

By |2019-01-10T15:57:32+00:00January 12th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Managing Back Pain as You Age

How Sleeping Incorrectly Can Affect Your Pain

When you think about your sleep, you typically think about a period of restoration and rejuvenation. Your sleep is supposed to be the time your mind and body have an opportunity to rest and repair for the next day.

What most people don’t know is that you could be sleeping incorrectly and making your pain worse instead of better.

How you could be sleeping incorrectly

You may not realize there’s a specific technique to the way you sleep. Besides, you’ve been sleeping all of your life. How could you possibly be doing it wrong?

One of the most important factors to your sleep, especially when you’re dealing with aches and pains, is your sleeping posture. Most sleepers sleep on their sides, and this can cause a lot of complications. For one thing, half of your body is crushed under the weight of the other half of your body. This can specifically target your pain points, so you’ll wake up with soreness in your shoulders, hips, and knees.

It’s not only sleeping on your side that can amplify your pain. Stomach sleepers are in an even worse position, putting undue stress on their lower backs all throughout the night, especially with thicker pillows that raise your neck up even higher.

You probably knew your sitting posture was important for your neck and back pain, but keeping proper posture while unconscious is a little more challenging to account for. Here’s how you can work on it.

What you can do to correct your sleep

If you’re a stomach sleeper, you should probably work on trying to get comfortable in other positions. It takes some time to adjust to sleeping in a new position, but it is possible to make a change. If possible, try to adjust to becoming a back sleeper. This is the best position for maintaining spinal alignment and decreasing your chances of waking up in pain.

If you’re absolutely committed to stomach or side sleeping, there are ways you can fix your technique. As a stomach sleeper, sleep with less, or no, pillows to eliminate the arching up that causes lower back pain. As a side sleeper, try to keep your body elongated rather than curled into the fetal position. This can help reduce morning pains (and snoring, too).

Author’s bio: Laurie Larson is a writer based in NC who writes on health topics.

By |2019-01-10T15:43:09+00:00January 10th, 2019|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on How Sleeping Incorrectly Can Affect Your Pain