Is Back Pain Normal As You Age?

Jun 01, 2023
Is Back Pain Normal As You Age?

It’s no secret that your body changes as you grow older. And while everyone experiences the aging process in a unique way, one of the most common complaints is worsening back pain.

In fact, about 84% of the population suffers low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. But, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal — or something you should accept as inevitable.

Pain is never normal, and our experienced team at Pain Consultants of Atlanta is here to help. We specialize in diagnosing and treating back pain in adults of all ages. If you’ve noticed worsening back pain as you age, it’s time to learn more about why it happens and what you can do about it.

The most common causes of back pain

Pain is highly personal, and back pain can have a variety of causes. For older adults, some of the most common causes of back pain include:

Degenerative disc disease

As you age, the soft discs that cushion the bones in your spine can degenerate. The discs gradually get fragile and break down, eventually losing their cushioning ability. This can result in chronic back pain and stiffness.


Osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, is the most common form of the condition and it gets increasingly common with age. Osteoarthritis can affect any joints in your body — including the joints of your spine.

Spinal stenosis

The nerves that connect your brain to the rest of your body run through your spinal canal. Spinal stenosis develops when your spinal canal narrows, compressing the nerves that run through it. This can cause back pain, along with numbness and weakness in your legs.

Compression fractures

Older adults are more prone to developing compression fractures, which occur when a vertebra in the spine collapses. A compression fracture causes inflammation, which puts pressure on nearby nerves and other tissues and leads to back pain.

While these are a few of the most common causes of back pain, they’re not the only ones. Some people may experience pain due to muscle strains, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and more. The best way to find effective treatment is seeking professional medical care.

How pain management can help relieve your symptoms

If you have back pain, it’s important to see a specialist. Back pain can be frustrating and debilitating, but our team is here to help you find treatment that makes a difference.

We offer comprehensive back pain consultations, which include a review of your medical history and a thorough exam. We work to diagnose your condition, then develop a customized pain management plan to relieve your symptoms.

Pain management strategies can include a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies.

Medical treatment

Depending on your diagnosis and symptoms, we suggest treatments to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your options might include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, or joint injections.

Physical therapy and exercise

Both physical therapy and exercise can be incredibly effective in reducing back pain and improving overall flexibility and mobility. Working with a physical therapist helps build strength and reduce pain. Regular exercise can also help strengthen the muscles that support your back.

Lifestyle changes

Making certain lifestyle changes can also help you manage back pain and prevent symptoms from worsening. Depending on your situation, we may recommend regular exercise to keep your back strong and flexible and losing excess weight to reduce strain on your back.

Repetitive motions and poor posture can exacerbate back pain, so we can also help you find ways to avoid repeating the same actions. If you have a job that requires sitting or standing for long periods of time, take regular breaks to stretch and move around to help reduce discomfort.

Alternative therapies

Along with medical care, many people find that alternative therapies can offer relief from back pain. If you’re curious about your options, ask our team about whether treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, or chiropractic care could benefit you.

Back pain is a common issue that many older adults face, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Partner with our team at Pain Consultants of Atlanta to start getting answers and find a pain management solution that’s right for you. Call one of our seven office locations in and around Atlanta, Georgia, or request a consultation online now.