We all suffer with back pain at some point in our lives, but as we age, the causes of this often change. A busy working parent might suffer with pain caused by taking care of children, while someone in older age might struggle to understand how their bodies abilities have changed over the years.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported that around 3.7 million Australians suffer with back problems, with 70–90% of people estimated to suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives.
Dr. Mario Stefano, President of the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia SA, has put together a Top Three list of back pain causes he often sees in his patients to help others recognise and be aware of these:
In your 20’s and 30’s:
- Sitting at a desk at university or work
- Picking up and holding children
- Long working hours
“I find that patients in their early stages of life often undertake activities they don’t think will be a problem, like heavy lifting and strenuous work, but they end up in serious pain and discomfort,” Dr. Stefano said.
“For my clients, work is one of the main causes of back pain – this is the time where you establish yourself in the workforce and build a career, so it often consists of long hours either at a desk hunched over a computer. Those working in industries such as retail or hospitality also suffer due to long hours spent on their feet.”
In your 40’s and 50’s
- Lack of exercise as life gets busy
- Cleaning and household maintenance
- Long distance driving and travel
“Many of my patients in their 40s and 50s tell me they are too busy for exercise, with work and family commitments taking up too much of their time, and I think this is something most people can relate to – including myself,” Dr. Stefano said.
“My suggestion is always to try and incorporate moderate exercising and stretching wherever possible – a short 30-minute walk is all it takes to start feeling the benefits. Exercise doesn’t need to be for hours every day, not many people have time for that in their busy schedules!”
In your 60’s and 70’s
- Undertaking exercise that is too strenuous
- Arthritis and natural aging
- Outdoor activities such as gardening
“When you reach your 60’s and 70’s, it’s vital to start thinking about what your body is and isn’t capable of,” Dr. Stefano said.
“While strenuous activities are a common cause of back pain and strain, there are some things that are just inevitable parts of aging. I see a lot of my patients suffering with joint pain and arthritis, which unfortunately cannot always be fully treated, but can definitely be aided with chiropractic care.”
“Whatever your age, simple indicators of spinal health can help determine whether you need assistance in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Forward head posture, reduced spinal range of motion and joint tenderness are indicators that you are developing problems. Chiropractic care can help improve these and allow you to cope optimally with your current lifestyle. The better you get through one chapter of life the more likely you are to maintain quality of life in the next. Healthier spine, healthier life!”
Mario Stefano graduated from Macquarie University in Sydney with a Master of Chiropractic in 1996, after having obtained a bachelor of science with a major of pathology, physiology and anatomy, and practiced in Australia for 6 years. Moving further abroad, he practiced in Italy for 9 years, building one of the largest chiropractic clinics in all of Europe. Currently, Dr Mario runs and practices at both Back By the Beach and Vital Family Chiropractic clinics in Adelaide, and is the President of the Chiropractors Association of SA.