As we age, one frequent complaint is back pain and problems with the spine. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is not actually considered a disease but rather the normal wear and tear that can be expected as a result of living an active life. It is important to keep in mind that joints are not only where two bones meet and move, but also the different bones and vertebrae that comprise your spine.
The most common type of spine problem among seniors is the occasional discomfort and stiffness due to arthritis. Many seniors have difficulty getting out of bed and need to stretch their back. This is very typical for those with arthritis. As you get older, you will find that you are increasingly slower and stiffer. How severe it will get depends upon a number of factors, like your weight, tobacco use, genetics, and how active you are.
Spinal stenosis occurs when a neural structure, like a nerve or the spinal cord, becomes increasingly narrow and constricted. This can happen when you have arthritis that causes bone spurs. Bone spurs are your body's way of attempting to fix the problem by fusing the joint with bone. In a way, it works by preventing further movement in the affected joint, which no longer causes pain and irritation. The bad news is that the joint no longer has flexibility, which is a problem for most joints.
The cervical spine is the section of the spine that supports your neck. The neck needs to support the weight of the head and allow for a wide range of movement. Most of the spine is fairly well protected from injury, but the cervical spine has fewer muscles and ligaments protecting it from being damaged. Neck pain can be caused by problems with soft tissues like ligaments and muscles. It can also be due to problems with the vertebrae or cervical spine joints. Degenerative diseases are the most common causes of neck pain, including arthritis or traumatic damage to soft tissues surrounding the cervical spine.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is another common condition among seniors. Discs are found between the vertebrae to cushion them, allowing you to carry weight and letting your spine move and maintain stability. Over time, these discs can lose their shock-absorbing traits. This can restrict your movement, causing pain.
If you suspect you are being affected by any of these conditions, you should seek treatment in order to preserve remaining function and minimize pain and discomfort.