| One-Minute Clinician

Low Back Pain in Older Adults

Low back pain plagues a lot of us, but as we age we’re more prone to the possibility. Low back pain can be caused by numerous different reasons, but mostly it’s due to musculoligamentous strain. Other things can cause it like facet joint problems in the spine, sacroiliac joint disease, piriformis syndrome. You can have spinal changes that can lead to disk herniation causing low back pain, shooting leg pain, and narrowing around the spinal cord called spinal stenosis or narrowing around nerve roots called lateral foraminal stenosis. I think that unless you have defined lesion, a defined problem that can be corrected surgically in the low back, it’s helpful to try everything else beforehand. That’s what I advise patients, because I see those patients that haven’t benefited, although plenty of people do. I think though when you’re talking about fusion and putting rods in and so on, then we really do risk persistent pain and it’s hard to overcome that. It really is. Nerve blocks are helpful. Medications could be helpful, physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation, all are helpful. If all else fails, then you could consider surgery.

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