Accessibility View Close toolbar

1310 Washington Street

Pella, IA 50219 US

641-628-2099

Open mobile navigation

The "Aging" Lower Back

Source: Chiro-Trust.org

Health Update: Low Back Pain

The “Aging” Lower Back – Part 1

            Low back pain (LBP) can arise from many causes. Nearly everyone has or will suffer from LBP at some point in time, though it is most common in the 30-year-old to 50-year-old group and it affects men and women equally. However, what about the elderly population and low back pain? Let’s discuss back pain unique to the geriatric population...

            We’ve all heard of the “wear and tear” factor as it applies to clothing, automobiles, shoes, and tires, but it affects our bones and joints too! A condition that none of us can fully avoid is called osteoarthritis (OA). OA is the “wear and tear” factor on our joints, particularly the smooth covering called hyaline cartilage located on the surfaces of all moving joints. It’s the shiny, silky smooth surface that we’ve all seen at the end of a chicken leg when we separate it from the thigh. Osteoarthritis is the wearing away of that shiny, smooth surface and it can eventually progress to “bone-on-bone” contact where little to no movement is left in the affected joint. Bone spurs can also occur and be another potential generator of back pain. OA is NOT diagnosed by a blood or lab test but rather by an accurate history, physical examination, and ultimately, an x-ray. However, when the low back is affected by OA, it may not even hurt! Yes, in some cases, there may be a significant amount of OA on an x-ray and that patient may not have significant problems. Or the opposite can occur and some patients with very little arthritis can have a lot of back trouble. It’s FREQUENTLY very confusing. The “take-home” message with OA is that, in and of itself, it does not always generate pain. This is why the history, physical examination, and the response to treatment (chiropractic adjustments, exercise, and possibly some lifestyle changes in diet and activity) are MORE important than the amount of arthritis found on the x-rays. Ultimately, we will ALL get OA sooner or later. It’s usually a slow, gradual process that may slowly change our activity level. Ironically, KEEP MOVING is the best advice we can give to the patient with OA.

            There are a number of conditions associated with OA that affect the spine and respond well to chiropractic treatment. Degenerative disk disease (DDD) is one of those conditions found in association with OA. In fact, another name for OA is “degenerative joint disease” (DJD)! The normal anatomy of the intervertebral disk (IVD) consists of a thick, tough outer layer of fibroelastic cartilage and a central “nucleus” that is more liquid-like and allows the IVD to function like a shock absorber. As we age, the water content gradually “dries up” and the shock absorbing quality is lost.

            As chiropractors, we address OA (DJD) and DDD with a number of HIGHLY EFFECTIVE treatments but most important (in many cases) is the use of spinal manipulation or adjustments. “Exercising the joint” with manipulation and mobilization reduces the tightness and stiffness associated with OA and DDD. Exercises are also important and can give the OA/DDD patient a way of controlling this condition on their own. Diet, activity modification/encouragement, and periodic adjustments help a lot! Next month, we will continue this discussion!

            We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.

From JACO

Vertebral Fractures

Kristine E. Ensrud, M.D., M.P.H., and John T. Schousboe, M.D., Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2011;364:1634-42.

JACO Editorial Reviewer:  Dale G. Huntington, DC, FACO

Published:

Journal of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists

Dec 2013, Volume 10, Issue 4

Sign up now or call us at 641-628-2099 to make your appointment!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

6:30 am

6:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am

6:00 pm

Friday:

6:30 am

12:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

  • "I saw Doc when I was a senior at central college. He really took great care of me and the patients received great treatments. I just graduated chiropractic school 6 months ago and want to thank Doc for the motivation to pursue chiropractic school."
    Joel M. / Pella, IA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More
  • Wellness Gardens

    Wellness Gardens When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More
  • A Book and Its Cover

    A book cover may not necessarily tell the whole story and may not accurately portray the nature of the contents within. Publishing companies pay high salaries to their marketing staff to create cover copy that will entice prospective buyers to make a purchase. But many times the book itself does not ...

    Read More
  • When Your Spine Is In Line

    Good spinal alignment means good biomechanical health. Essentially, your spine is the biomechanical center of your body. Your legs are connected to your spine via two large and strong pelvic bones. Your arms are connected to your spine via your shoulder blades, ribs, and numerous strong muscles and ligaments. ...

    Read More

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles