How To Avoid the Effects of Ageing on Your Back

Many back problems occur as a normal part of ageing. Spinal discs dry up, becoming less spongy and pliable so they’re not so effective as the shock absorbers between the bones of the back, the vertebrae. This rigidity increases the chance of a disc herniation (a bulging, ruptured or ‘slipped disc’). At our clinic in Brighton our chiropractors and physio’s have put together tips to help prevent these effects.

How Ageing Affects Spinal Discs

Muscles degenerate with age as well. Muscle mass, strength and performance tend to deteriorate, especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle. But it’s not all downhill. You can slow down muscle degeneration, maintain flexibility and boost back strength by adopting good habits right now. If you want to be fit when you’re 90 years old, here are some tips to set you on the road to an active old age.

Tips to Maintain Back Strength and Flexibility

Morning Stretch Routine to Ease a Stiff Back

Start the day with some stretches after a quick warm up (you could march or jog on the spot for a few minutes or dance around the room). Then try some classic stretching movements – for example, the cat/cow, bird dog and side plank exercises, which are excellent ways to tone and strengthen your back muscles. You can see these demonstrated here: Morning stretches to ease a stiff back.

Benefits of Light Core Strength Training to Prevent Back Pain

Light core and back muscle training makes muscles more robust, supports your back and prevents pain. Here are the exercises we recommend: The 3 Best Back Exercises To Do At Home

Incorporating Cardio for Heart and Lung Health

Some heart and lung exercises, often called cardio, should also be part of your week – and it doesn’t have to be jogging. Anything you enjoy doing that raises your heart rate counts as cardio, so you could be swimming, cycling, playing ball with the kids or just walking briskly.

Several times a week, do exercise that is vigorous enough to get you slightly out of breath for at least ten to twenty minutes, depending on your age and general level of fitness.

Importance of Rest and Recovery

Sticking to a personal routine of care is the best way to maintain your back as you get older. You can vary your more strenuous weekly physical activity over seven days and avoid doing the same sets of exercises for longer than two days in a row. For example, two days of working with resistance bands or weights varied by two days of a particular range of stretches. Make sure you have a day off too – resting allows your body to recover, of course, and don’t ignore nagging issues and strains. Muscle soreness is due to microtears in the muscles themselves and need time to heal.

Chiropractic Care Can Help

Regular maintenance treatments with your chiropractor are also an important way to stay on top of persistent issues. Chiropractic treatment can restore movement to locked joints, ease trapped nerves and manipulate stiff muscles, and thus reduce symptoms and maintain better range of motion. You’ll also get advice on home exercise plans to suit your particular needs. The main thing to bear in mind is that whenever you decide to make a change, be it 19 or 90, you’ll be strengthening a future ‘older you’.