what to do if you have lower back pain from arthritis

What to do if you have lower back pain From Arthritis?

Men and women after the age of 60 are likely to experience lower back pain from arthritis. This degeneration of the joints in the spine is a common occurrence due to aging. The two most common ailments associated with this degeneration are osteoarthritis of the spine and spinal stenosis.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain among Seniors

Osteoarthritis of the Spine

Osteoarthritis of the spine occurs when the cartilage that cushions the facet joints in the spine wear down. The bones rub and grate together, causing inflammation and pain in the lower back.

Age can also degenerate the intervertebral discs that normally absorb shock. Torn discs do not absorb shock well, leading to excessive force being transmitted to the facet joints and causing pain.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the vertebral foramen within the spine narrows and compresses the nerves, resulting in lower back pain. Spinal stenosis can be caused by three age-related issues: Inflammation from osteoarthritis of the spine can contribute to the narrowing of the foramen; vertebral disc degeneration can put more pressure on the foramen; ligaments in the spine can ossify and compress nearby nerves

Treatment for Osteoarthritis and Spinal Stenosis

Both osteoarthritis of the spine and spinal stenosis can be treated with surgery if non-surgical treatments have been ineffective and the conditions have worsened. Surgery alleviates the pain in the lower back, prevents the conditions from becoming debilitating and, in the case of spinal stenosis, gives the nerves room to heal.

Medication such as pain killers, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants can be prescribed to manage the symptoms. In extreme cases, corticosteroids or short courses of opioids can also be prescribed.

In most cases, some form of physical therapy and exercise will be part of the treatment process. These treatments are not a cure. They help patients to manage the pain in the lower back and prevent further debilitation from degenerating conditions and inactivity.

Physical Therapy and Exercise for Lower Back Pain


Many seniors with arthritic conditions and lower back pain report relief through these remedies:

Osteopathic manipulation

Osteopathic manipulation involves a physiotherapist manipulating your joints and tissues by hand to correct any restrictions to your range of motion. This can improve mobility and reduce lower back pain.

Massage Therapy

Therapeutic massage reduces lower back pain by improving circulation and reducing stress and muscle tension. Seek out a professional who is specifically trained in treating seniors with arthritic conditions.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

During a TENS session, small amounts of electricity are delivered via electrodes attached to the skin to reduce the sensitivity of nerves around the lower back.


Many senior citizens find acupuncture helpful for relieving arthritic pain in the lower back. Some report feeling relaxed and energized after a session.


Proper exercise reduces stress on the joints around the lower back by strengthening the muscles that support the lower back. This not only increases mobility, it also enhances weight loss, builds endurance and improves bone density. All of which help to relieve stress and pain. Low impact activities like pilates and yoga are highly recommended for seniors with limited mobility and cardiovascular strength.

If you would like to find out more about how my team and I help our older clients manage chronic pain in their lower back and other areas, please do contact me.

Recommended read: Simple guide to learn everything about lower back pain.

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Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor

Jun Xian work with clients on pain management, regain and progress them to higher fitness level with combination of Physiotherapy and Pilates.

He love sharing his knowledge around topics of lower back pain, hip and knee problem.

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