Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Why Back Pain Isn't "NORMAL" Even If You're Getting Older

Why Back Pain Isn’t “NORMAL” Even If You’re 
Getting Older

Back pain: very few people go through life without feeling its debilitating effects. From dull aches to sharp, stabbing sensations, back pain can afflict many of us in various ways. For a some people, back pain is a prolonged struggle that can strike at any moment, the intensity and heartache of which seems to increase over time if left untreated. For others, however, back pain seems to appear later on in life, and the predominant assumption is that it is therefore age related. Here’s the thing, though: it isn’t necessarily true. Yes, that’s right. Back pain – especially when you’re older – actually has very little to do with your age and a lot more to do with your lifestyle. In this post we look at why we often mistake middle-age back pain for something “normal” or “natural”, and we discuss some of the ways in which you can overcome the pain and get back to the active, mobile lifestyle you deserve.

The biggest issue with back pain in later years is that, well, it’s accompanied by general acceptance. Most people who experience back pain when they’re older just accept it and try to work around it, so to speak. And while we’re not denying that back pain may come with age, we are saying that the pain is NOT a product of age, rather that it is a result of an aging mindset or imbalanced lifestyle.

Let’s think about this for a moment: it is true that, as we age, our bodies require a little more maintenance. We no longer have the metabolisms of 18 year olds, and we can’t really keep up on the soccer field. Yet, that doesn’t mean we have to give up on trying to be active or healthy. The problem with middle-age back pain is not that it is a natural response to aging, but that we allow it to be defined by age. If we maintained healthy lifestyles, kept active, and enjoyed a healthful diet, our age would not determine the health of our backs – our lifestyles would. In other words, age is just a number, but you really, truly are what you do. Here are some of the reasons you might incorrectly assume that your back is sore simply because of your age:

Breaking Good Exercise Habits
When you were younger you had the motivation and will to run the extra proverbial mile. Getting up at 6am to go to the gym wasn’t a chore, and the pay-off at the end of the day was worth the endurance it took to stay slim and healthy. However, as you aged, you had to work a little harder, struggled a little more to wake up early, and found that juggling a job, kids, pets, and a social life left little in the way of time for exercise. And the result? You aged. Yes, that’s right. As controversial as that may seem, the minute you let yourself break all the good habits you had when you were young, you started to age. And, sadly, the consequences of that meant – yeah, you guessed it – back pain. Here’s the thing: the habits you forge define who you are and how you feel. If you incorporated movement, exercise, cardio, and stretching into your life, right now, you’d jumpstart your journey to health by strengthening the muscles in your back. You’ll feel and look younger! Do some yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi – whatever you choose, stretch and move those muscles! If you want something a little less adventurous, why not start by taking a daily walk, getting up a couple of minutes earlier to hit the yoga mat, or joining a spinning class in your local gym? It’s amazing what a mind-shift can do you for your body.

Posture Problems
Let’s face it, when we’re young we really don’t worry too much about the position in which we sit, how we stand, or how evenly we distribute our body weight. The only problem with this is that our mistakes eventually catch up to us. Poor posture is one of the leading causes for back pain experienced in middle age – not only does a lack of mindful joint and muscle positioning mean that you place stress on the spine, but it also means that you constantly repeat the same detrimental stances and gait. You end up entrenching the pain by destabilizing your body’s balance. Thus it comes as no surprise that the battle against back pain is the battle against poor posture. And, of course, poor posture makes you feel older: you’re bent downward and you feel less inclined to move. So, in a bid to rid yourself of discomfort, start by correcting your posture and practicing more mindful ways of positioning the spine during sleep and the hours spent at your desk. Your back will thank you.

Weight Gain Woes
Here’s the rub, right? Weight gain is perhaps the most quintessential middle-age battle; we gain weight as we age and, unfortunately, the weight carries a lot more than a few extra pounds. Gaining weight often means excess stress not only on your organs, but on your joints and muscles, too. Your back actually incurs a dramatic increase in pressure as you gain weight, the result of which can often lead to disc damage or spinal injuries. Controlling your weight is absolutely vital is maintain a healthy back. So, why not opt for a cooking course to learn a few new recipe’s, or take your partner up on that new dish he or she has been dying to make. Increasing the amount of vegetables, berries, fruit, healthy oils and fats, as well as beans and legumes in your diet will help you maintain a healthy weight.

Let’s be frank: back pain can rob you of your happiness and joy. We also realize that living with back pain is something that can feel too big to tackle on your own. And that is why we know that the tips above, no matter how badly you want to start doing them, may seem daunting to begin with. What can be done, then? Feeling younger is as much about the changes you choose to make as the mind-shift you need to implement. Make a change, right now – get the help you need.

For the safest, easiest, most effective way of tackling your back pain, contact a professional, hands-on physical therapist. Physical therapy offers you the opportunity to regain your joy and for you to feel younger and happy again. With a physical therapist, you’ll receive hands-on, caring treatment aimed at treating the root cause of the problem, thereby giving you a permanent solution to the daily pain you’re suffering. And not only that, physical therapy gives you tailor-made, targeted exercises and stretches for you to do at home, thereby equipping you with the tools you need to maintain a pain-free life. No painkillers, no surgery, and no temporary fixes: physical therapy is the best way to overcome your back pain, right now. 

Age is just a number and back pain does not have to be a product of your age  You can overcome your back pain and get back to the life you deserve.  For more information about how we can help you do just that, contact one of our expert professional physical therapists right now.  We're here to help: don't let back pain steal even one more day!

How Stress and Diet Relate to Pain

How Stress and Diet Relate to Pain

Ever been in a foreign country and tried to order off of a long, complicated, alien looking menu? Did you use hand signals to describe the dish you wanted? Did you whip out your phone and hope Google has the answers? And, in the end, did you just close your eyes and trust that what landed on your plate was pork, not pizza? Yes, this situation can be frustrating, especially when you don’t end up getting what you want! Well, let me tell you a secret… when you’re in pain, your body is frantically waving hand signals, pointing at pictures, and speaking in a foreign language. Why? Because it needs you to give it what it wants.

Few of us think of pain as a language, and yet, it is. Foreign though it may be to many people, it is, in fact, a very detailed and specific way of communication. When you stub your toe, for example, your brain sends you a signal that something is wrong. You hop around looking sheepish for a while, but you also realize that putting a plaster over the nail, putting your foot up a bit, and wearing shoes next time is the right thing to do. So why would it be different when it comes to chronic pain? Back pains through to knee pains all have one thing in common: they’re signals from the body. 

And if your body is speaking to you – and for some of you reading this, it might be screaming at you – it’s time to take some notice. But, that having been said, it’s a little easier said than done sometimes. If you’ve experienced ongoing, debilitating pain, it’s not always easy to listen properly. You might just not understand. And that’s why it’s absolutely vital to take a step back and start looking at the two most important factors that might be contributing to your pain: stress and diet.


For many of us, this five letter word has been so overused we don’t really understand what it means anymore. For some folks, general stress can push them forward, motivating them to challenge their professional and personal boundaries. But others – including many of you reading this now – might not even know what a holiday or ‘me-time’ is anymore. Quite possibly, you (and them) have been so focused on your work, family, or other activities, that you’ve not taken a moment to notice what the ongoing, accumulative stress is doing to your body.

You see, stress is a bit like moving a bucket of water from one end of a football pitch to the other. Continuously. You’re so focused on moving the bucket over the outer boundary that you don’t feel your knees and back giving way. You just keep going.  Eventually – inevitably – the water spills and, well, you’re left to clean up the mess.

Yet what would happen if you set the bucket down? The boundary would be more attainable, you would start being critical about the ultimate goal of your back-and-forth race, and you would begin to slow down, look up the sky, and start contemplating a trip to the beach. What do I mean? You would start living the life you deserve and, miraculously, your knees and back just might have a chance to recuperate and heal, given that you take actions which facilitate this.

In the case of emotional stress, too, the concept remains the same. Because the brain processes stress as a trauma, akin in many ways to PTSD, it therefore suffers from the effects of anxiety and stress for a while after the body actually experiences them. Again, this type of stress needs to be dealt with. Action needs to be taken, otherwise the metaphorical bucket will always be close to tipping.

The pain in your back, knees, ankles, and so forth, is your body telling you that something is very wrong with your routine. It’s time to listen. And, believe it or not, pain is not the only symptom of chronic stress: your appetite suffers too. Which brings us to signal number two…


So few people ever turn to how they fuel their body for answers relating to their chronic pain. And yet, there might be a direct link between the nutritional content of your food and the pain you’re going through.

Sugar, fat, and salt all contribute to the accumulation of a poor metabolism, fat storage in the body, poor blood pressure, and decreased circulation. The result? Pain. And sadly, as many people know, pain is really only the start. Cancer, diabetes, and a myriad of other diseases may well follow suit.

If you’re not sleeping, you’re experiencing chest pains, you’re suffering from panic attacks and headaches, and you’re feeling a general fatigue accompanying your pain, please take a look at what you’re ingesting. It’s absolutely vital to check-up on your diet.

Start including more vegetable and anti-oxidants into your diet. Include foods that are nutrient dense and well balanced. The key to health is to listen to your body, and a lack of appetite, an over-active appetite, or a generally nutrient deficient calorie intake, is a clear signal from your body to regroup and reconstruct your food choices.

Stress and diet are clear forms of language: when out of balance, they’re your body’s way of producing pain so that you are able to take notice and take action. Knowing which choices to make in order to alleviate your pain is absolutely vital. That’s exactly why we invite you to contact us, right now. For the best advice, professional hands-on physical therapy, and support you can count on, contact us today. We’re here to help. It’s time to start listening to your body, getting rid of stress, eating right, and accessing the pain free life you deserve.

Call us at (703) 650-8824 and take action today!