As we age and decrease activity levels, back pain and sciatica become more common. Are you experiencing constant discomfort and limited mobility due to these conditions? Physiotherapy may be the solution you’ve been searching for.
Back pain and sciatica can significantly impact our quality of life, especially as we age 50 and beyond. Many individuals in this age group struggle with these conditions, making even simple tasks a challenge. However, there is hope in the form of physiotherapy, a treatment that focuses on addressing the root causes of back pain and sciatica.
Physiotherapy offers a holistic approach to managing and treating back pain and sciatica, tailored explicitly to individuals aged 50 and above. By understanding the unique challenges faced by this age group, physiotherapists can develop personalised treatment plans that alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall well-being.
Common risk factors of developing back pain and sciatica in older adults
Lower back pain is a common issue among older adults, with research suggesting that up to 80% of people over 50 will experience it at some point.
Although acute injuries or lifestyle factors can cause it, several risk factors are associated with developing severe or chronic lower back pain in this age group.
One factor is the natural wear and tear on the spine with age. As we age, our bones, joints, and muscles become less flexible and more vulnerable to injury. This is compounded by weaker abdominal and core muscles, essential for maintaining back health.
Diabetics are at a higher risk of nerve injury and discomfort. Diabetes automatically puts you at a higher risk of having sciatica and other nerve diseases.
Degenerative conditions such as arthritis can also increase the risk of developing severe or chronic lower back pain in older adults. These conditions cause inflammation within the spine, leading to pain, reduced mobility, and even nerve compression.
Furthermore, conditions such as osteoporosis can weaken the spine’s supporting structures, resulting in pain and further limiting mobility.
Less common causes of back pain in older adults
Low back discomfort may be caused by conditions that affect older adults less frequently. Among the less prevalent causes are:
- Spinal tumour infection
- Piriformis syndrome
- Osteoarthritis of the hip
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Common symptoms of lower back pain
- A dull discomfort or severe pain usually affects the lower back, buttocks, and occasionally the hips.
- An acute, electric, burning-type pain (sciatica) that is usually felt on only one side of the body and is linked with numbness or weakness.
- Pain that intensifies after sitting or standing for an extended time or after changing postures, such as bending forward, twisting, and lying down.
Physiotherapy treatment for back pain and sciatica at age 50+
Physiotherapy combines exercise-based therapies with manual techniques such as massage and joint mobilisation to reduce pain, improve mobility, and strengthen the spine’s supporting structures.
At the core of physiotherapy is an emphasis on exercise, posture, and lifestyle changes. During a session with your physiotherapist, you will receive individualised advice and guidance on strengthening your back muscles and managing pain better.
Exercises are tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities. This helps strengthen core muscles, improve posture, and reduce inflammation caused by degenerative conditions.
Manual techniques can also help reduce tight muscles and improve joint function. Massage can alleviate any aches or pains associated with the condition, while joint mobilisation can enhance mobility and range of motion.
Physiotherapy also helps to educate individuals on how to manage their condition. This includes advice on posture, exercise, and lifestyle modifications that can reduce the risk of further episodes of pain or injury.
We may suggest specific stretches or exercises for you to do at home to target underlying health issues and improve muscle function. This approach helps reduce inflammation associated with back pain and sciatica, improving overall mobility.
Additionally, physiotherapy can improve your quality of life by reducing the need for medications and relieving stress. For those over 50, physiotherapy can be an invaluable tool as you begin to take on a less active lifestyle and become more aware of potential health concerns.
Physiotherapy is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals aged 50 and above suffering from back pain and sciatica. By leveraging the right exercises, lifestyle changes, and professional guidance, you can improve your quality of life and lead a more active lifestyle.
Final thoughts on physio for back pain and sciatica at age 50+
Back pain and sciatica are common issues faced by older adults, but physiotherapy offers an effective solution. By combining exercise-based therapies with manual techniques, physiotherapists can help to reduce pain, improve mobility, and strengthen the spine’s supporting structures.
With this tailored approach, older adults suffering from back pain and sciatica can look forward to improved quality of life.
Book a FREE phone assessment today, and one of our experienced physiotherapists will tailor a rehabilitation program to fit your needs.