While older adults can experience pain related to any of the conditions that also affect younger adults, individuals over age 60 are more likely to suffer from pain related to degeneration of the joints in the spine. Two of the most common causes of lower back pain in older adults include osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis.
Symptoms: Lower back pain and stiffness that is the most pronounced in the morning and in the evening
Includes any combination of the below symptoms:
- Pain that interrupts sleep
- Pain that is most pronounced first thing in the morning and again toward the end of the day
- Localized tenderness when the affected area of the spine is pressed
- Aching, steady or intermittent pain in the lower back that is aggravated by extended activity
- Stiffness or loss of flexibility in the back (for example, unable to bend comfortably at the waist)
Possible cause: Facet joint osteoarthritis
Facet joint osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine, is a degenerative condition that develops gradually over time. The pain is caused by the breakdown of the cartilage between the facet joints in the spine. At first the symptoms may only be intermittent, but can later develop into steadier pain in the lower back, and may eventually cause sciatica in addition to lower back pain.
Symptom: Leg pain that occurs primarily when walking and standing upright
Includes any combination of the following:
- Unable to walk far without developing leg pain
- Lower back pain relief is achieved quickly after sitting down
- Symptoms fluctuate between severe and mild/none
- Symptoms develop gradually over time
- Weakness, numbness, and tingling that radiates from the low back into the buttocks and legs (sciatica)
Continue reading the full article from Spine Health here.