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5 Spinal Injuries Affecting the Elderly

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Back injuries are not uncommon in the elderly. Degenerative processes, falls, and strains may all contribute to spinal problems. According to physicians, falls in the elderly seem to be on the rise in recent years. Regardless of the factors involved, a number of injuries happen more often than others. If you are providing a senior loved one with home care, Lincoln caregivers recommend learning about these 5 common spinal injuries to help him or her prevent them. 

1. Compression Fractures

Weakened vertebrae are prone to cracking or breaking when undergoing more stress than normal. This condition typically occurs during a fall or secondary to jogging, jumping, or running. However, when bones are particularly porous, fractures might also occur after a simple sneeze. In many cases, the fracture is simply allowed to heal naturally. Pain management may or may not be required. 

2. Degenerative Arthritis

Also known as facet joint osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine, the condition develops gradually over time. Seniors experience discomfort as the cartilage between the joints deteriorates, which puts stress on spinal nerves. Condition management includes pain relief, stretching, or chiropractic manipulation. Surgical intervention is recommended in severe cases. 

3. Herniated Disc

Herniation occurs when a portion of a cushioning disc slips out of alignment from between vertebrae. If left untreated, the condition may progress to a rupture. Causes include falls, collagen loss, and obesity. Treatment involves pain management and prescribed exercise. 

4. Stenosis

The term stenosis comes from the Greek language and means “choking.” The facet portions of the vertebrae often become enlarged during degenerative processes. The excess bone causes a narrowing in the center of the bone, which stresses nerve tissue. Pain management and activity alterations are often prescribed, and extreme cases may require corrective surgery. 

5. Scoliosis

Weakened bones combined with years of wear and tear might cause a curvature of the spine. This condition may not require treatment unless disc abnormalities or nerve involvement occurs. Non-invasive treatment includes back braces. In serious cases, invasive corrective surgery may be needed. 

Engaging in regular physical activity can help seniors build stronger bones and muscles, which can reduce the risk of spinal injuries. If your loved one needs help maintaining an exercise regimen, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with physical activity and other daily tasks, and we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s care Lincoln seniors can count on. For more information on our in-home care services, please call (402) 261-5158 today to speak with a qualified Care Manager.