Is Back Pain Normal as You Get Older?

Back pain is something with which we all deal. Around 85% of people experience it at some point. But is it normal to experience back pain as you age? Dr. James Sheehan and our team of chiropractors at Pro Rehab Chiropractic & Rehabilitation share their expertise.

Back pain and aging

Your spine isn't as resilient as you get older. Most patients start getting back pain around age 50, but it can happen earlier. Certain back conditions and injuries are more common with age, but persistent, chronic pain could be from an illness.

Conditions that cause back pain

Many conditions cause back pain. The most common ones are disc injuries, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis.

Disc injuries

Problems with discs are a common cause of back pain. Discs sit between your vertebrae, the bones in your spine. Their main function is to work as cushions and to absorb shock.

Certain factors can break down your discs, like:

When they wear out, you have a greater chance of getting a slipped disc. This is when your disc slips out of place.

Untreated disc injuries can lead to herniated discs. This occurs when the gel substance in your disc leaks out and irritates your nerves. Most younger patients experience back pain from a herniated disc.


Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects your joints. Though it's most common in knee joints, it can affect your spine, too.

Your spine has cartilage that prevents joints from rubbing together. Aging and weight gain cause the cartilage to wear down. 

As this occurs, you may experience pains and aches that worsen with movement. It can limit your movement and cause a lot of pain.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis happens when parts of your spine narrow. The biggest reason for this is aging and osteoarthritis. As it narrows, it can pinch nerves in your back. This results in numbness, weakness, and tingling.

How to treat back pain

Back pain can be either acute or chronic. Acute pain is less severe and resolves within six weeks or less. It’s often caused by a fall or muscle strain. Chronic back pain is severe and persistent. It can last for more than three months and often doesn't have a specific cause. 

You can relieve back pain with chiropractic care at Pro Rehab. We offer a variety of services to treat acute and chronic back pain, including:

If you want to find long-term relief for your back pain, use our online tool to book your appointment now or call one of our locations in Wilmington, Newark, Middletown or Lewes.

Dr. James Sheehan Dr. James Sheehan is an expert in the treatment of neck and back pain.

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