It’s completely normal that with ageing, the spinal discs degenerate over time. One of the most common questions our patients ask is “Why am I having back pain and neck problems?”. Some of the time patients come in and actually they are suffering from a form of arthritis.
Arthritis is a general term, referring to the breakdown of a joint. This applies to any joint in the body.
In the spine, there are multiple joints, that allow for both mobility and stability. Ageing and trauma create wear and tear on joints in the body. The spine, specifically tends to age in a way unique to each individual.
Your posture, weight, if you smoke, and some genetic factors as well can all contribute to how quickly your spine degenerates. Not everyone gets spinal arthritis at the same rate.
Many people come into the clinic you are actually quite young. A number of factors will play into early problems in the spine. Conditions such as spondylolisthesis (congenital bone defects in the spine), scoliosis, and trauma such as high impact sports or car accidents can create an environment where accelerated wear and tear can be seen.
On the other hand, many people are well into their eighties or nineties, by the time they have significant problems. It might be that they are genetically advantaged in some way, or they may exercise regularly. Therefore, regular physical activity – such as swimming, walking, aerobics, and some sporting activities – has been shown both to slow down this process as well as increase your bone’s calcium content (i.e. slow down loss of bone density).
Posture is one of the more difficult things people deal with and getting the right posture takes practice but there are a number of ways that you can help get it right.
Classes such as yoga, Pilates and meditation can help you be more mindful of your body’s position in space. Maintaining your posture in your daily life is important. Try to remember to keep your ears over your shoulders, your shoulder over your hips, and your hips above your feet. With a good foundation, safe posture is achievable. With regular exercise, good posture, and keeping your weight at a healthy level, you are doing nearly everything you can to keep your spine healthy and staying active.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.