4 Keys to Fixing Back Pain at Any Age
I was just talking with a 35 year old mother of 2 who, only a few years ago, had been told that she had the spine of an 80 year old. After dealing with back pain for nearly 10 years and having family members that had gotten back surgery without relief and unable to get back to being active, she was thinking that was the only option for her as well. Sadly, I’ve heard this story way too many times and knew that surgery was not going to lead to the happy ending she was looking for(in this case...being able to play with her kids...but there is a happy ending). Since I’ve heard this story so many times, especially from people in their 40s and early 50s, I wanted to share 4 keys to fixing back pain at any age.
The first key is understanding that while back pain can happen at any age, 40 seems to be the most common age that most people come into their doctor’s office with back pain or sciatica(and as we get older, the numbers go down and not up). This doesn’t mean that it can’t happen in teenagers or older people, it just happens more often around the 40th birthday. More often than not, this is not even about age but rather more about the things we do daily that are more likely to provoke our back along with the fact that as many of us approach 40, we’ve gotten away from many of the things that made our back strong to begin with.
The second key is to understand that scans including X-rays and MRIs don’t explain pain(or recovery). You may have an MRI from a year ago showing a disc bulge, usually at L5-S1 or L4-L5(those are the discs between the bony levels). What is often not explained is that 1) discs heal and 2) the level above or below where you have your bulge or herniation is just as likely to be a driver of your pain. Let’s deal with the fact that discs heal. Did you know that after about 6 months your disc is 75% healed? Studies have shown on serial MRIs(done over weeks and months) that the body actually heals the disc bulge(even though you might continue to have back pain). As far as your pain not coming from the level of your bulge, due to the way our bodies are wired and the nature of pain-we can have our pain being impacted from as many as 2 levels away from the bulging disc(which is why injections often miss the mark).
Our third key is that too much rest actually makes the problem much much worse. Often taking a day or 2 off is enough for the back to start to calm down but anything more starts to aggravate the problem. Especially if we are sitting a lot as our rest. The reality is that if we can start getting up and moving about, especially working on walking and gentle stretching(but often not bending forward as that tends to make the problem worse), Next, start working back to what your routine was before. So, if you are a golfer, getting back and putting first before starting your chipping and then working back to driving. If you are a runner, that might be a run/walk gradually working your pace back to your workout pace. Your back will heal along the way and you will move it and lube it back to being a happy spine.
Our last key for fixing back pain at any age is to get help sooner rather than later. That can be in the form of our free low back e-book 5 Things You can do Today to Ease Low Back Pain and Sciatica(link takes you to our pain relief guides), join us live or get the replay for our upcoming workshop “4 Simple Strategies to keep Low Back Pain from Ruining the Summer”(register at the link). Or, if you know you need personalized advice, want to know what is specifically going with your pain, and want to speed your recovery even faster, you can request your no-cost consultation here. This is for the person who knows something has to be done but is just unsure of the next steps. No prescription required to start and we are often able to get you in same day.
We only offer 4 free consultations per week so don’t wait.