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Is Back Pain Normal As You Age?

The simple answer to this question is, yes. Like gray hair, wrinkles, and senior moments, back pain is common among older adults. In fact, one study found that lower back pain is the most common health problem among older adults that results in pain and disability.

Lower back pain is equally as common among men and women and can range in severity and duration from dull and achy to sharp and debilitating. It can last an afternoon or for months. 

If it lasts for more than three days or is the result of an accident or injury, you should seek professional advice. Fortunately, as with other facets of aging, you can do something to prevent or minimize it. Here’s what our chiropractors at Northview Medical want you to know about back pain.

What causes back pain?

There are many causes of back pain related to aging. Wear and tear on your joints, discs, and bones can lead to stiffness and achiness. Depending on how stiff and achy you feel, you may be able to live with this discomfort. But you shouldn’t have to. Pain can interfere with your daily activities and your enjoyment of life. Common reasons you feel pain in your back include:

Worn out discs

Discs are gel-like cushions that separate your vertebrae. Over time they dry out and wear down. They can also rupture, burst, or slip out of position. When a disc bulges, it can press on a nerve, causing sciatica and other painful nerve issues. Many back issues are related to problem discs, but not all disc issues that occur with age lead to pain or problems. 


Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage and discs that sit between your vertebrae begin to break down due to wear-and-tear over time. Without the cartilage to cushion your bones, they can rub against each other, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Osteoarthritis of the spine is a common cause of neck and back pain. 

Spinal stenosis 

Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal. Over time, this area can shrink and compress, leading to pressure on your spine and nerves. Nerve pressure can result in back or leg weakness, numbness, or pain.

How to prevent back pain

Fortunately, there are several ways you can strengthen your back and prevent back and neck issues. Lifestyle changes that can help you prevent or reduce back pain include:

How to treat back pain

In addition to making the lifestyle changes mentioned above, you can also relieve your back pain through medication and treatments. At Northview Medical, our health care providers develop a personalized treatment plan that may include one or more of these therapy services:

If you’re experiencing back pain, regardless of your age, call us at Northview Medical for an appointment with one of our experienced chiropractors.

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