Yikes! At 43 Years Old I Had The Spine of a 70 Year Old

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Sep 14, 2011

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Florida - Southwest

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In my early forties, I was having a lot of low back pain. So off I go to an orthopedic physicians office to find out why. The doctor looked at my X-rays and said, Kelly, you have degenerative lower back arthritis, in fact, your X-ray shows that of a 70 year-old woman instead one who is 43. I couldn't understand how this could have happened. I exercised five days a week, strengthened my stomach muscles and core, and used weights to build bone density. Besides, I thought your 40s were the new 30s! The doctor explained that lumbar spine arthritis is most commonly seen in older patients, those with previous injuries to the spine and the obese. He said my back aches were due to a lack of stretching; it was taking a back seat to my exercise routine. We came up with an arthritis management plan that would help my sore back. Because 21%, or one in five adults in the United States report doctor-diagnosed arthritis,* I thought I would share some general key points for a plan that may help you as well.
ACTIVITY: Stop sitting for long periods of time; it increases the risk of lower back pain. Too little activity leads to loss of flexibility, strength, and endurance. So start a walking and stretching program. It will increase your energy level and your flexibility.
DIET: Add Omega-3 rich foods to your diet; they are very effective in reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acid is found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and trout. One should have at least three to five servings of fatty fish per week. Calcium and mineral supplements will improve weak bones.
SLEEP: Try changing your sleeping positions. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it puts stress on your lower back. Instead, sleep on your side. If you are a back sleeper, use a pillow to keep your feet in a raised position. Some people find sleeping with a small towel rolled up under their lower back is comfortable.
POSTURE: Poor posture is one of the main causes of back pain. Slouching forward places a strain on your back. Practice sitting straighter and walking in a more upright position. You'll be amazed at how that will help relieve pain. *National Health Institute Statistics - 20032005

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Kelly Bennett, B.S., CSI (www.csicaregiver.com). She can be reached at 239-481-6138.
SMOKING: It goes without saying you should stop smoking. Not only are your lungs harmed but smoking decreases blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the spinal discs. Lack of oxygen is a major factor in low back pain.

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