Get your ‘Back’ on track

As the spine ages, one may feel some aches and pains. So, the back pain after the age of 50, can be tackled by physiotherapy and lifestyle modifications, say experts

Get your ‘Back’ on track

All the joints in the body undergo wear and tear. However, the joint where there is maximum stress, will affect first, for example the joints of the spine said doctors. Nisha Singh (name changed), a 55 year-old, housewife who resides in Andheri, visited Dr Abhijit Kale, assistant professor, orthopaedic department at LTMG Sion Hospital.

Dr Kale informed, “Around 15 days ago, the patient consulted me regarding a persistent lower back pain, which worsened while she tried to bend forward or sit for prolonged hours. She could barely walk and got tired very easily. Her x-ray of lumbar spine showed a slip of L4 vertebra over L5, which is known as Spondylolisthesis, (A is the condition in which one vertebral body is slipped forward over another).”

Dr Kale further said, “Her MRI too confirmed the diagnosis. Since her nerves were compressed, medical line of treatment didn’t work. She had to undergo a surgery, in the form of Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion. After the surgery, she has resumed to her daily activities. However, she will have to use a back brace for three months and there will be no restrictions after that.”

Back pain after 50, is due to degenerative spine. As we age, the vertebras get degenerated and the spacing of the disc also results into back pain said doctors. “If one has done a hard physical work in his younger days, he is more prone to back pain as he ages. Bad posture, trauma, nutritional deficiency, osteoporosis (Which is mainly seen in the females after the age of 45 to 50) are some of the reasons of elderly back pain,” explained Dr Sudhakar Lawand, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Omkar, Lawand Orthopaedic Clinic, Satara.

Almost 90% people have back aches. Amongst 100 females, 60 per cent while amongst 100 men, 40 to 50 per cent suffer from back ache said doctors. Dr Kale informed, “Every one person in three suffer from back pain, after 50. Lumbar spondylosis, faulty lifestyle, lumbar spondylolisthesis and weakness in the core muscles of the spine, are also the leading causes of back pain after 50.”

Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Arogya said “Backaches are common in elderly population, due to the depletion of calcium and vitamin D. in this case; take multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. Include anti- inflammatory foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, turmeric, papaya, pineapple, salmon, mackerel, tuna, ginger, cinnamon and garlic should be incorporated in the diet.”

Sunil Narvekar, a 57-year-old Mumbai resident suffered from lower back pain as he lost his balance while walking. “I couldn’t walk, sit or bend properly. I visited an orthopaedic surgeon, and the x-ray revealed a muscle pull in the lower back. After taking medicines and physiotherapy to strengthen my lower back muscles, I am fine now. I have started doing mild back strengthening exercises to keep my back in top shape.”

Elderly back pain can treated by avoiding vigorous exercising, maintaining a correct back posture, mild stretching exercises, yoga and walking on slightly inclined surface said the doctors. “Patients will be recommended some lifestyle modifications, physiotherapy which has 2 parts. One is which includes muscle strengthening exercises and second, is the heat therapy, which includes hot and cold compress.

Back pain remedies:
•Make lifestyle modifications in the form of exercise, diet and posture correction.
•Walk and do yoga, mild stretching and muscle strengthening exercises.
•Opt for physiotherapy and hot and cold compress.
•Correct your posture.