The Aches in Aging – Part 2: Back and Neck Pain

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LiveMD offers advice on how to deal with the aches and pains associated with getting older

As we age, it is common that our bodies begin to experience certain aches that were once not an issue when we were younger. Joint pain, back and neck pain, muscle spasms and pain, nerve pain and the pain of arthritis are all afflictions that can start to affect us the older we get. LiveMD offers advice on how to deal with these issues and find the relief needed to live a pain free life.

In this session we will discuss back and neck pain and the recommended remedies for relieving your discomfort.

Back and Neck Pain

As we age, we are often afflicted with many different aches and pains and often these are felt in our back and neck. The spine is made up of many vertebrae, connected by discs in between them, that allow the spine, neck and head to move in many different directions. There are also numerous nerves and muscles running down the back, neck and shoulders. If any of the vertebrae or discs become injured or damaged, if the nerves become pinched, or any of the muscles get pulled or strained, back and neck pain could be the result.

A pulled back or a kink in the neck are very common complaints and are one of the top reasons that people miss time from work or are unable to complete their daily tasks. By being aware of the most common causes for back and neck pain it is easier to prevent these pains from occurring.

Common Causes of Back and Neck Pain

  • Poor Posture – Poor posture is one of the leading causes of chronic back pain. How we stand and sit determines how our spine is aligned and a spine that is always being held in a crooked or hunched over position will eventually begin to ache.
  • Improper Lifting – Many people use improper techniques when lifting heavy objects which puts strain on the back and can cause injury and pain.
  • Obesity – Being overweight can put tremendous strain on all parts of your body, including your spine. Extra weight can cause poor posture and can put added strain and pressure on your entire body, resulting in pain, especially in the lower areas of the back.
  • Poor Sleep Position – Sleeping on a poor quality mattress or spending your nights in a twisted position can leave you with a kink in your neck or pain in your back when you awake in the morning.

Prevention and Treatments for Back and Neck Pain

  • Correct your posture – Keeping good posture can help to relieve pain and keep your spine strong and straight. Standing upright, with your shoulders slightly back should help to keep you pain free, especially when standing for extended periods of time. When sitting, don’t slouch over and refrain from crossing your legs. This can cause a twist in your back, which, after time, can cause discomfort and pain.
  • Lift with your legs, not with your back –  When lifting heavy objects it is important to lift them properly. Many people bend over at the waist and use their back to lift up most of the weight. This puts tremendous strain on all areas of the back and can cause serious injury. Be sure to use your legs and arms when lifting. Squat down, by bending your knees, and keep your back straight. When you lift the object, drive your feet into the ground and use your leg muscles to bring you into a standing position. This puts most of the pressure on your legs which are much stronger than your back and better able to handle the weight of lifting.
  • Lose weight and exercise regularly – Regular exercise and stretching will keep you limber and will help to reduce your body weight resulting in less back and neck pain.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – The best positions to sleep in are either on your back or on your side, on a comfortable mattress with a well cushioned, supportive pillow underneath your head. Sleeping on your stomach can cause your back to arch unnaturally and can cause pain and stiffness in the morning.
  • Visit a chiropractor or physiotherapist – Chiropractors and physiotherapists are trained professionals that can provide treatment and therapy options to their clients that will help to realign the body and stretch out the muscles involved in causing the pain. Regular visits can help to reduce current pain and minimize the frequency and severity of future episodes of back and neck issues.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications – Over-the-counter pain medications, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants are short term cures for immediate pain relief. These medications can reduce pain, relax tight muscles and reduce the inflammation that is causing the discomfort
  • Heat and ice therapy – Applying alternating hot and cold compresses on the area affected can reduce inflammation and ease the pain in the affected areas.

If you are suffering from back or neck pain, the doctors at LiveMD can help determine the best therapy for you. Our doctors are available for live, online consultation and are professionally trained to help you feel better and be free from pain. Visit www.mylivemd.com and book your phone, video chat, or in-person appointment today.

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March 24th, 2016 by