• How getting older affects your spine

    by Peter R Sutton DC
    on Sep 18th, 2018

How getting older affects your spine

Although low back pain can occur at any age, most people associate it with getting older.  This makes sense as the wear and tear of an active lifestyle accumulates as we age but getting old does not mean you have to have back pain.  Today I will review the most common causes of low back pain and how to prevent it from affecting you into your older years.

Common causes of low back pain

Although there are many causes of low back pain, most back pain is a result of abnormal pressure on the structures of the back.  If there is a lot of unnecessary pressure on the nerves of the spine, that will result in sciatica.  Excessive pressure on the discs will result in disc degeneration or herniation.  This can cause localized low back pain or be another source for sciatica.  Finally, unusual pressure on the muscles can cause back spasms and difficulty with bending or lifting. 

All these problems come down to a simple anatomical law known as Wolf’s law. Wolf’s law states that abnormal stress on a structure will lead to abnormal aging.  Put simply, the more stress on your back the faster it will wear out.

Signs of an aging back

Depending on the structure that is being unusually stressed you will get different results.  If the Disc is under a lot of stress it will begin to degenerate and if not taken care of will lead to complete fusion of the vertebral segments.  If the joints of the spine are under a lot of stress the spine will develop premature Osteoarthritis.  Muscles placed under stress will develop scar tissue and will become less flexible.  This will result in chronic sprains and strains or your back “going out” on you.  Finally, nerves under constant stress will stop working properly causing leg pain and weakness.  If not treated properly functional muscle loss will occur. 

Chiropractic treatment for your aging back

The best way to maintain a healthy back is to minimize the stress on it.  No, I am not telling you to sit on your couch and watch TV all day long.  In fact, there are many benefits to an active lifestyle.  You just have to give your back and spine a little TLC every once in a while.  The main thing you can do to help your back minimize stress is to make sure it is moving properly.  Little misalignments that occur in your spine when overused can build and build over the years causing big problems when you are older.  Seeing a chiropractor can keep you back moving properly so that it will age properly.  Routine Chiropractic adjustments also encourage better blood flow, which reduces inflammation and promotes natural healing.  Call our office or request an appointment online today.  Growing older does not mean accepting the pain.


Author Peter R Sutton DC Dr. Sutton is a practicing Chiropractor for the past 16 years in Chandler, AZ

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