As adults age, those plagued by lower back pain tend to experience an increase in severity. As a result, mobility decreases, leading to less activity and a loss of independence – not ideal for healthy aging.
Until recently, the first line of treatment for severe lower back pain has been medication, including the use of habit-forming opioids. However, new guidelines say clinicians should focus on maximizing function through non-pharmacological treatment including exercise and therapy.
Managing lower back pain in older adults was the topic of this month’s Healthy Ageing 101 session, presented by Dr. Carlo Ammendolia, DC, PhD, Director of the Chiropractic Spine Clinic and Spinal Stenosis Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. The Chiropractic Spine Clinic uses evidence based non-operative care to treat complex patients suffering from degenerative, inflammatory and mechanical spinal disorders.
One of the first things that Dr. Ammendolia and his staff do when a patient is referred to them is to reshape their mindset, since a positive outlook plays a huge role in the outcomes of a patient’s success.
“It’s vital that we teach them that it’s okay to have some pain when climbing stairs, or walking,” said Dr. Ammendolia. “Especially in the first few weeks when they start the program, the pain will be there. Changing attitudes and beliefs about their pain and setting realistic expectations, gets them to continue through with the program.”
The program uses a ‘boot camp’-style approach that focuses on exercise, manual therapy and instruction on self-management strategies. Patients who go through the program receive guidance and a training plan catered to their condition.
“The pain may decrease, but it’s not guaranteed,” Dr. Ammendolia says. “However the vast majority of our patients see a significant increase in functional abilities. This is important since most older adults that come to see me – their biggest fear is loss of independence. And so they’re willing to work to keep that independence as long as possible.”
To contact the Chiropractic Spine Clinic call 416 586-4800 ext 6756 or 416 619-5546.