Modern Migraine MD

5 Common Causes of Back Pain After 50

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5 Common Causes of Back Pain After 50
Are you over 50 and struggling with back pain? You’re not alone. Back pain often strikes people as they get older. Keep reading to learn five common reasons people develop back pain after 50 and how we help restore your quality of life.

Are you over 50 and experiencing persistent back pain? You’re not the only one. Back pain is a common issue that affects many people as they get older—and it can have a significant impact on your ability to participate in daily activities. 

Board-certified neurologist Risa Ravitz, MD, and the care team at Modern Migraine MD, help adults over 50 find lasting relief from back pain. At our offices in Manhattan, NYC, Toms River, New Jersey, Aventura, Florida, and virtually in 13 states, Dr. Ravitz diagnoses the underlying reason your back hurts and provides personalized treatment recommendations. 

Understanding the common causes of back pain after 50 can be useful in finding effective solutions, but it can’t replace appropriate medical care. Keep reading as we explore five common culprits behind back pain after 50 and the ways we help you regain control of your body.

1. Herniated discs

The discs in your spine act as both cushions and connectors, helping you move smoothly and distributing your weight evenly while keeping your spine stable when you move. They also absorb the impact of everyday activities, like jumping, walking, and running. 

A herniated disc develops when the soft inner material of the disc pushes through the outer layer. This can cause frustrating symptoms, including pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your back, neck, arms, or legs, depending on the location of the affected disc.

2. Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is another common cause of back pain in individuals over 50. As you age, your spinal discs lose moisture and elasticity, becoming thinner and more brittle. This natural degeneration can lead to chronic back pain, stiffness, and reduced flexibility. Activities like bending, lifting, or sitting for long periods can make your symptoms worse. 

3. Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis describes the narrowing of your spinal canal. This puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The condition commonly occurs with age and can cause back pain and other symptoms, including:

  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness in the legs

Spinal stenosis often worsens with activity and improves with rest. It can significantly affect your mobility and quality of life if left untreated.

4. Thickened ligaments

As you age, the ligaments that support your spine can become thicker and less flexible. This thickening can contribute to back pain, especially during movement or bending. Thickened ligaments can also limit spinal motion, leading to added stiffness and discomfort.

5. Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips forward or backward in relation to the vertebra on either side. When you’re over 50, it’s often caused by age-related degeneration of your spinal structures, such as the discs or joints. Spondylolisthesis can cause back pain, muscle tightness, and nerve compression, resulting in leg pain or weakness.

Personalized back pain care

If you're experiencing chronic back pain, it's essential to seek medical care for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your Modern Migraine provider can assess your symptoms, conduct a thorough examination, and recommend further tests if necessary. 

Once the underlying reason for your back pain is identified, Dr. Ravitz works with you and other relevant providers to create a personalized back pain treatment plan. Treatment options may involve a wide variety of modalities depending on your specific needs, including:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Bracing
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Nerve blocks
  • Surgical interventions

Keep in mind that early intervention and management help ease pain, improve mobility, and enhance your overall quality of life, so don’t wait to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with Dr. Ravitz at Modern Migraine MD.