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Is a senior in your life experiencing back or neck pain? If so, he or she isn’t alone. It’s estimated that up to 80% of people will experience a back problem at some point in time. Although spine issues often require professional treatment, the resulting pain can make it difficult for someone to travel to a medical provider’s office. That’s especially true for older individuals, who may already be experiencing loss of mobility and other issues related to the natural aging process.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that allows your elderly loved one to receive the care he or she needs without having to even step foot outside the door. DispatchHealth is a leading provider of mobile healthcare services, and we’re pleased to offer in-home treatment for seniors who are experiencing back and neck pain. We treat almost everything that an emergency room can, but without the risks and hassle associated with having to visit an ER or urgent care center. And if you’re concerned about costs, you’ll be glad to know that our services cost about the same as an urgent care visit, and we even offer an affordable rate for uninsured patients. Plus, to ensure continuity of care, we’ll be sure to send a detailed report to your loved one’s primary care physician and/or assisted living community.

When to seek treatment for back & neck pain

Although back and neck pain can be incredibly unpleasant, it can often be relieved without the need for professional intervention, using at-home remedies like pain medication and heat/cold therapy. However, your elderly loved one may want to seek treatment if remedies like these aren’t providing relief, if the pain is particularly severe or interfering with routine activities, or if the pain began after an injury.

Seniors should also seek treatment for back and neck pain if the pain shoots down the arms or legs, if it tends to worsen at night, or if it’s accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence
  • Unexplained weight loss

What causes back & neck pain in seniors?

One of the most common causes of back and neck pain among seniors is degenerative disc disease. There are 23 discs within the spine, and they’re responsible for holding the spinal vertebrae together, absorbing shocks and allowing for bending and twisting. As we get older, these discs tend to dry out, which inhibits their ability to cushion the spine. They also tend to develop small tears in their outer wall, which can lead to disc herniation and a number of other issues. And because blood doesn’t travel to the spinal discs, the discs cannot repair themselves. Almost everyone experiences disc degeneration to some extent, although it doesn’t always cause pain.

Other common causes of back and neck pain among the elderly population include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle strain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal compression fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Spinal infection
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spondylolisthesis

How to prevent & manage back & neck pain in seniors

Although the development of back and neck pain is inevitable in some cases, there are various steps that your elderly loved one can take to prevent this from happening or at least minimize the effects. One of the best things he or she can do is maintain a healthy weight, since excess weight can place undue pressure on the spine and the rest of the musculoskeletal system. Seniors should speak with a physician before beginning any type of exercise regimen, but many individuals experience success with low-impact exercises like walking, biking, swimming, and yoga. Not only does exercising aid in weight loss, but it can also strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, which help to support the spine.

Performing gentle stretches can also help seniors maintain or even improve their posture and range of motion, which can in turn decrease their chances of developing back and neck pain. Your elderly loved one can also improve his or her posture in other ways, such as by adjusting computer monitors to eye level and paying attention to sleeping positions. And because smoking can lead to back and neck pain, as well as a wide array of other health problems, seniors who smoke should also consider quitting.

If left untreated

If your elderly loved one is living with back or neck pain and at-home remedies haven’t provided sufficient relief, it’s important that he or she promptly seeks treatment. Failing to treat back and neck pain can aggravate the underlying condition and lead to the development of additional issues. Leaving a herniated disc untreated, for instance, can result in permanent nerve damage. Plus, living with chronic pain can make it difficult to sleep, cause depression, and lead to an overall decrease in quality of life.

Luckily, thanks to DispatchHealth, arranging treatment for your elderly loved one’s back and neck pain is easy. Contact us today to request care—you can reach us over the phone, via our mobile app, or through our website.

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