Common Spinal Conditions Found In The Elderly


According to the United States Census, by the year 2056, there will be categorically more elderly people than children. Without a doubt, the population of the aged is on the increase. The Census, in addition, calculate approximately that by the year 2029 individuals that are over the age of sixty-five will encompass twenty percent of the entire population. As persons continue to age, so too does their spine. Even though there are quite a few potential back conditions which you are one of your loved ones might suffer from, the more typical of these are normally associated with degenerative changes that impact the discs and other structures and osteoporosis.

Spinal Fractures

Females over the age of seventy years old might be very familiar with the inconvenience and pain of an osteoporotic fracture. Very common among the baby boomer generation and older, an osteoporosis-associated spinal fracture, or any other form of fracture, could result in consistent, niggling back pain. This irritability might impact everyday life and activities and could also result in a negative effect on relationships or on the emotions of the individual.

The most common forms of osteoporotic fractures are vertebral fractures. At times the pain associated with a vertebral fracture imitates symptoms of other conditions and diseases. This is the reason that diagnostic imaging is so vital. Tests such as MRIs, X-rays or CT-scans could assist assess wedge and compression fractures. Additionally, a test to read the density of the bone might tell the individual with certainty if they have osteoporosis, which could also be confirmed using bone biopsies.

In particular, post-menopausal females are the ones affected by osteoporosis, which is a disease of the bone. The bone mass of individuals decreases at a faster rate than they could be rebuilt when they are suffering from osteoporosis. Bone mass is fabricated using protein, in combination with the minerals phosphorous and calcium. Fractures that are caused by osteoporosis could happen after the individual suffers from some type of trauma, however, they could also occur for no perceptible reason.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the silver lining here is that in several of the cases of vertebral compression fractures, which the most typical form, shows improvement within three months without the use of treatment. The experts from this academy recommend individuals take simple actions while going through the healing process, such as taking as much time as needed to rest and limiting the use of medications for pain. Your primary health provider might prescribe a brace for the individual to put on as well.


Hyperkyphosis also called age-related hyperkyphosis, is a posture condition that is often a result of vertebral fractures. Even though hyperkyphosis could be a result of numerous things about thirty percent of the time, it is caused by spinal fractures among older adults. Based on the name, persons would guess that hyperkyphosis is an abnormality in which the normal kyphotic curve in the thoracic spine which is situated in the region of the mid and upper back, becomes exaggerated or excessive.

Disc Degeneration

As a person continues to age, it is somewhat inevitable to have degeneration of the spinal structures. This degeneration could happen in each of the structures which make up the back, including nerves, muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, and discs, and the list goes on. The majority of the time, a treatment that does not require surgery could relieve back pain and improve the person’s physical functioning.

Every now and then though, nonsurgical options are not successful and the person’s primary health care provider might recommend surgery. This is true, particularly if the person has merciless and or severe pain or the pain is because of myelopathy, symptoms as a result of compression or disruption to the spinal cord or radiculopathy, symptoms like sciatica which are as a result of the irritated spinal nerve root.

The most common kind of spinal degeneration is the degeneration in spinal discs and is frequently the first type to develop. Degeneration of the spinal discs could result in degenerative changes in the other sections of the spine also.

In the event that the discs completely collapse, the Arthritis Foundation states that the facet joints found to the back of the spine might start to rub against each other, resulting in symptoms of osteoarthritis, chiefly pain, and stiffness.

The unavoidable drying that occurs due to the age of an individual is one of the things which causes disc degeneration. Drying reduces the ability of the disc to absorb shock properly. There is little to no supply of blood to the discs, meaning that once they become damaged, the process of healing becomes even more difficult. The restricted healing ability of the discs is quite often what begins and or is responsible for the corrosion process which results in degeneration of the spine.

The majority of the time, internal disc disruption is the culprit. It is also referred to as annular tear injuries, mechanical failure of the disc, and or the collapse of the disc, without any associated changes to the disc’s shape and no alterations to the vertebral endplate. Internal disc disruption is a medical entity on its own, meaning that is not the same as degenerative disc disease or herniated disc.


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