Recent studies found that between 11% and 40% of Americans cope with chronic pain, which are eye-opening numbers. What may not be so surprising is that the prevalence of chronic pain tends to rise in lockstep with age. But is this normal?
Here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management, under the experienced guidance of Drs. Shailesh (Shay) Pathare and Sathish Modugu, we don’t believe that any chronic pain should be considered normal. As pain management specialists, our goal is to help our patients in Staten Island and Hartsdale, New York, find relief from pain, no matter their age.
So we’re going to answer the question we pose in the title by saying that chronic pain isn’t a fact of life for everyone over the age of 50, but we do admit that the battle against chronic pain can heat up the older you get.
The top age-related conditions
If you find yourself struggling with more pain as you head into your 50s, there are reasons for this. At the head of the list are degenerative conditions that begin to exact their toll on your musculoskeletal system.
For example, the prevalence of osteoarthritis goes from a little more than 7% among 18- to 44-year-olds and jumps to almost 30% among 45- to 64-year-olds. This number creeps up to 50% past the age of 65.
While osteoarthritis is the poster child for aching joints, the fact is that joints can ache outside of osteoarthritis due to simple wear and tear. This can also be a time when old injuries begin to make a most unwelcome reappearance, especially if they didn’t heal properly the first time around.
On top of aching joints, your bones tend to lose mass as you grow older, especially among women, in a condition known as osteoporosis. While the condition itself isn’t necessarily painful, it does make older adults more susceptible to fractures, which can lead to problems with chronic pain.
The age factors
There are several reasons why older adults experience more pain, leading with the fact that as your body ages, you’re more vulnerable to injury. In other words, your pain levels don’t necessarily increase as you get older, but the circumstances in which you feel pain begin to multiply.
This happens because the hard and soft tissues in your body aren’t as healthy as they once were. For example, as you get older, the discs along your spine begin to lose hydration and become more brittle, placing you more at risk for back problems. And this occurs in most of your connective tissues.
Making matters worse, when you feel pain, you exercise less, which sets you in a cycle of pain that you’re unable to break out of to strengthen your muscles.
Fighting back against chronic pain
At our practice, we specialize in the myriad conditions that cause pain and offer many different solutions, including:
- Medical marijuana
- Regenerative medicine, including platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapies
- Joint injections
- Physical therapy
Our goal is to improve your quality of life by finding long-term solutions for chronic pain that allow you to become active again, which is the best medicine for your health.
To put an end to chronic pain, whether you’re 50, 20, or 80, please give us a call. Or you can use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.