How to protect your back as you age
The key to keeping your back pain-free as you age is to make sure you have good posture when you stand or sit, maintain a healthy weight by eating good nutritious foods and exercise to keep your back and abdomen strong and flexible. United States Physical Therapist Robert Fay says: “Strength-training and cardio exercise are both helpful. They increase blood flow, and help you build your core muscles, which support your spine. And that reduces pressure.”
By strengthening the back and abdominals, you can strengthen your muscles and help prevent future pain. It’s always recommended to discuss exercise methods with a health professional to determine the right exercises for you.
Hot or cold packs or even a combination of both are great to relieve back pain. Though they are not able to heal the actual cause, they can help relieve the pain. This is a great solution especially for those older people who can’t exercise as often as they would like. Heat causes the blood vessels to expand and carry more oxygen to the back. This reduces muscle spasms and also alters the feeling of pain. Cold contracts the blood vessels which causes less blood flow to the back, which helps in reducing inflammation. It also makes the area numb, which relieves the pain.
There are also many natural remedies to help alleviate back pain. Learn more here.
The right bed can also help ease discomfort and take some pressure off your back. A correctly-built mattress will allow for the curves of your body to be maintained rather than your body conforming to the mattress. A mattress that’s too short or too hard for your body shape and weight can cause your spine to curve in an unnatural way.
New Zealand chiropractor, Dr Hayden Thomas says many people don’t appreciate the value of correct support at night time. Sleep plays a vital role in restoring and healing the body and “often people suffering from back pain assume the firmer the bed the better, which is not always the case. It’s important your mattress and pillow cushion your body to help ensure your spine is kept properly aligned while sleeping. Poor alignment can cause stress in all the wrong places. Your size and weight will determine the type of bed most suitable for you.”
Learn more about why back pain increases with age here.