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Why Back Pain can be a Serious Sign for Seniors

As you age, paying close attention to aches and pains throughout the body becomes increasingly important. Watching the health of certain areas of the body can help you predict problems before they become a major issue. The back is a major area of the body that can signal problems for elderly people if pain is present.

Back pain - Why Back Pain can be a Serious Sign for Seniors

Organ Issues and Tumors

In some cases, back pain can be indicative of organ problems. Specifically, sharp back pains often characterize kidney and bladder issues. Aches in the back can also be a sign of developing cysts or tumors. Because of the potential for more serious issues, people who experience regular back pain should be examined by a physician.

Physical Injuries

Back pain can also be a sign of muscle spasms, hernias, strains, tears, weak hip flexors, muscle imbalances and a variety of other physical problems. Depending on the area of the back that is aching or sore, certain problems could be the cause. For example, people that experience chronic back pain when laying down at night could have a serious spine problem. Night time back pain can suggest that the spine may have mechanical problems, a fracture, or a disease such a scoliosis. Kidney stones or arthritis can also be a cause of night time back pain. Other areas of the back can indicate a variety of serious and minor issues.

Lower Back Problems

Seniors who experience serious back pain should seek immediate evaluation and/or treatment for a possible life threatening condition due to the extended healing time that is needed as people age. states that lower back problems are quite common among older people, so issues such as disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis can be present. Disc herniation is a rupture or tear of a bulging disc in the spinal canal. A herniated spine is out of line due to a single or multiple slipped discs. Degenerative disc disease is the deterioration of discs between individual vertebrae because of weaker cartilage caused by the aging process. Spondylolisthesis is the slipping of the vertebrae which can cause instability of the spine.

While back pain is extremely common–an estimated 80% of Americans will experience some form of back pain in their lives–serious aches and pains can be a sign of major problems in the elderly. Paying attention to how the back feels can serve as an effective way of helping to identify organ and physical damage before they might become irreversible.

Savannah Coulsen is a freelance writer. She lives in Raleigh. Savannah loves to read and write and she hopes to write a novel someday. Savannah also loves learning and is a self-proclaimed health guru.


Co author Doug Johnson helped create North American Spine and manages all medical staff, in addition to training physicians in proper AccuraScope procedure techniques.

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