Oh, My Aching Back
People over 65 with back pain are often stereotyped and made the butt of jokes. The truth is that severe back pain can occur at absolutely any age. But it is more common and has worse consequences in seniors.
What we know about back pain is that your aging parent probably isn’t making it up or exaggerating it. What we rarely know, without a medical diagnosis, is what causes it. And back pain can be mysterious. Finding an effective treatment can be a long process. You may find, in other words, that your parent’s doctors try one treatment to rule it out, then they have to try another. And so on.
Back pain has many different possible causes. It can be as simple and treatable as a pulled muscle or as serious as a spinal tumor.
Most Common Causes Of Back Pain
The following is not a complete list of back pain causes, just the most common:
Degenerative arthritis which often starts out as a hereditary problem and can be aggravated by injury.
Osteoporosis which is a gradual loss of bone.
Broken bones in the spine.
Injury to the back muscles most commonly pulls and tears caused by inappropriate lifting or other exertion.
Spinal stenosis which occurs when the spaces between discs compress, pinching the spinal nerves.
Trauma to the back caused by a fall.
Kidney infection or stones.
Time Often Heals
The good news is that the vast majority of back pain goes away on its own without medical intervention. And many people know exactly how and when their back pain occurred. When sharp, stabbing pain suddenly accompanies an unusual movement, like lifting a box or stretching a disused muscle, home care may be the first line of treatment.
Ice packs are a very effective treatment for back pain related to a pulled muscle or muscle group. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) relieve pain, allowing the body to heal. Resting and not repeating the movement that caused the pain is clearly in order.
When you need a doctor
If back pain persists for more than a few weeks and does not respond to rest and other reasonable home care measures, it’s time to see a doctor. More immediate action should be taken if the back pain spreads down the legs, particularly if it extends to below the knees, or if it is accompanied by numbness or tingling in the legs.
If your mother or father starts losing weight along with complaints of back pain, that is a reason to schedule a doctor’s visit. If the back pain is accompanied by a new loss of bladder or bowel functions, or if it is accompanied by a fever, those are good reasons to see a doctor immediately.
Senior Care Can Help
If your beloved parent often has back pain, ask the senior care specialist who visits several times a week to help treat and prevent recurring back pain. If you don’t have senior care for your parent, recurrent back pain is a good reason to hire an agency or individual to visit mom or dad on a regular basis and help with daily activities.
Senior care professionals can help prevent and mitigate back pain in many, many ways. They can do laundry, vacuum, and move furniture for your loved one, eliminating back pain risks. They can also prepare and administer ice packs and pain relievers.
In conclusion, an increased incidence of back pain often comes with age. But more often than not, it can be prevented if your loved one can be persuaded not to undertake physical tasks that cause that pain. Most back pain will heal with time and appropriate rest, but back pain that comes with other symptoms is often a sign that your parent needs to see a doctor.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in Alma, MI, please talk to the caring staff at Asona Home Health, LLC, today. Serving individuals and their families in Canadian Lakes, Mount Pleasant, Clare, and the surrounding areas. Call us 24/7 today at (989) 546-4269!