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Message to seniors: Don't take back pain lightly

November 15, 2012

Severe back pain can seriously threaten healthy aging. Older adults who experience discomfort in their back often find it difficult to stay physically active and socially engaged. While back pain does present challenges, there are some remedies available, and according to, seniors should follow these helpful steps to alleviate their back pain.

Most importantly, seniors need to head to a professional who can diagnose what is ailing them. Experts stress not making the decision of which doctor to visit lightly, especially since the spine is very delicate. As such, it's crucial to do plenty of research ahead of time.

In a similar vein, it's important to get a second and third opinion depending on what the initial diagnosis is. While some doctors may suggest surgery, others could point toward less invasive alternatives, such as visiting a chiropractor, that may offer similar benefits.

"Don't leave anything on the table," surgeon Dr. Burak Ozgur told the website. "This is your health, your spine."

There have been some recent advancements that could help seniors treat their back pain. Specifically, some doctors have found an effective therapy for spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal, according to ABC affiliate WABC.

The new procedure, a divergence from major surgery, uses tiny holes where surgeons can utilize small tools to shave down the bone and soft tissue that presses on the nerves and causes pain.

"You're hoping that the small amount that you can remove through the small opening are enough," Dr. Alan Mogilner told the news channel.

Whatever path one takes, whether it's medication, surgery or innovative new techniques, it's hard to deny that back pain is a serious issue in the senior community. Experts believe approximately 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association.