Spine Health for the Over 50’s

Things have changed over the last 50 years when it comes to aging. Here are some statistics.

Average Life Expectancy of Australians:

Males: Increased from 68 to 80 years of age

Females: Increased from 74 to 84 years of age

Within that same period, the proportion of the population over 50 years of age has increased by over 270%.

What can be deduced from these statistics is that we are now spending more time living in our senior years. This presents the issue of quality of life, and the question: “In what condition do I want to spend my retirement years?”. After working a lifetime, it seems obvious that we should live life the way we always wanted: travelling, relaxing, and enjoying good food and company. A common barrier to this well-earned reward is an ailment that affects many people: Persistent Back Pain.

Back pain can be categorised into:

Acute: The result of a specific incident (i.e. car accident); or

Chronic: A condition that can persist for months or even years; often the result of an acute injury that has not been rehabilitated correctly.

Both types of back pain can result in weakening of the supporting muscles around the spine, which can subsequently be the source of persistent pain.

To Achieve Reduced Lower Back Pain:

1. Measuring the functional capacity of the lower back through isolation of the weakened supporting muscles around the spine; and

2. Improving strength and endurance of those muscles

Participation in an exercise program with specific medical exercise equipment supervised by Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists, allows re-education and reconditioning of the postural muscles that support the spine. This will gradually improve the condition of the lower back and reduce the risk of re-injury.

Courtesy Paul Marshall, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, ESSAM

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014) Australian historical
population statistics (Catalogue No. 3105.0.65.001)
Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/

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