Being one of the most common complaints of older adults, back pains is related to the strain of the lower back muscles (lumbar area) due to standing, bending, walking, turning and many other gross motor activities over the years. There other several reasons such as osteoarthritis, herniated disks, fibromyalgia and others. At varying degrees, it can affect our quality of life because of possible injuries and physical limitations it implie
Here are ‘somethings’ that can be helpful to prevent or alleviate back pains:
One of the major treatment plans for geriatric back ache is exercise. It can be performed at home or with the assistance of the health professionals. The recommended programs of these older adult activities are directed to enhanced strength and flexibility of the spine. It is performed in gradual and progressive steps in order to avoid strain and exhaustion.
Another major tip is to avoid lifting or carrying heavy baggages, or any other objects. Also, when lifting objects is really necessary, it is important to learn on how to appropriately lift objects, and not bend over with the back. This is done by placing two feet apart, while the hips should be aligned with the shoulders. Bring the arms down to reach the object by bending over the legs.
Eating good quality and quantity of certain foods keeps our bones and muscles strong. The recommended foods for back pains are the greens such as spinach, broccoli and kale because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Lean proteins namely chicken and turkey are the advised. It is also important to include food sources of omega 3 such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Brightly-colored fruits like oranges and berries are some of the suggested part of the diet.
Posture and position are very essential factors in preventing back pains. By maintaining a good posture, we can decrease the burden in the back. Hence, it is advised not to slouch when sitting or standing. A good chair is described as having a height that can allow us to sit with our feet on the floor, knees bended and lower back flat on the back of the chair. If it is not possible to rest lower back in the chair, a small pillow can provide relief. Crossing of legs is discouraged.
When standing, the head must be held high. The shoulders must be propped at the back. Moreover, a good sleeping position starts with a firm mattress. If we tend to sleep on the back, a pillow under our knees may help. Head must be support with just amount of pillow to maintain neutral position when lying on the side.
Tensed muscles, a contributor to back pains, are calmed by just amount of heat. Warm baths or application of warm washcloth over the area in the back might be useful in relieving twinges. We just have to be careful in setting shower heaters and heating pads in order to avoid skin burns.
There are types of back ache which can be soothed using cold cloths or ice packs. This is quite effective if the pain is attributed to inflammation or swelling.
It is recommended to engage with activities that are relaxing. Breathing exercises and slow walk with our pets in the park can ease tensions which have been built up for a time. It can also improve body circulation and provide more energy to our straining muscles. Other relaxation methods include warm baths and light massage.
Though back ache is considered a typical symptom in aging, it still important to seek medical help if pain is already unbearable and affects important activities of daily living such as walking and sleeping.