Ever wondered why back pain sometimes occurs in later life? Understanding the normal aging process of the spine is fundamental to keeping it strong and healthy. For many people, discovering how much the spine goes through during our lifespan can create a new found respect for just how precious it is!
Here our Southend chiropractor highlights the typical ways in which our spines change as we age:
As we age our bones tend to become less dense, making them weaker and more susceptible to breaks. This reduction in bone density is partly due to the fact that older bones contain less calcium (The amount of calcium decreases because the body absorbs less calcium from foods). Another factor is that vitamin D levels – which facilitate the way the body uses calcium – also slightly decreases. Typically, certain bones become weaker than others with the most affected being the spine, the ends of the thigh bones and the ends of the arm bones.
In women, loss of bone density can often speed up following the menopause. This is due to a reduction in the amount of estrogen being produced, which helps to prevent too much bone from being broken down during the body’s normal process of forming, breaking down, and re-forming bone.
Ever wondered why people get shorter as they get older? As we age, the spine’s vertebrae become less dense and the cushions of tissue (discs) between them lose fluid and become thinner, making the spine shorter.
Cartilage that lines the joints also tends to thin, usually because of the wear and tear of years of movement. In older people, the surfaces of a joint may not slide over each other as well as they used to, and the joint may be slightly more prone to injury. Damage to the cartilage as a result of lifelong use of joints or repeated injury can lead to osteoarthritis, (one of the most common disorders of later life).
Ligaments change too, usually becoming less elastic which can make joints feel stiff or tight. These tissues also tend to weaken as we age, hence why older people are often less flexible than younger generations.
The more you do to look after your spine in your younger years, the better able it will be to cope with the normal aging process.
At Cliffs, our chiropractors help people of all ages maintain a healthy spine. Our patients come to our award winning clinic from Southend and surrounding local areas including Leigh on Sea, Rayleigh, Hockley, Canvey Island and Hadleigh.