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Back Pain in the Elderly

As my parents age, I see them with more pain in their backs. It's not from lifting and stuff or arthritis, just pain. Do the backs get more fragile as people age?

A recent study looked at two specific discs in the lower back: the L4-L5 discs. The researchers wanted to know if tears, which appear in the discs, change in quality and type as people age.

The researchers did find that there was a significant difference. There were some types of tears that were very frequently seen among younger people and rarely among people who were over 30 years old. Other types of tears only occurred in older people. So, the researchers did find that there was as definite difference according to age.

Barrie Vernon-Roberts, AO, MD, PhD, Robert J. Moore, PhD, and Robert D. Fraser, MD. The Natural History of Age-related Disc Degeneration. In Spine. December 2007. Vol. 32. No. 25. Pp. 2797-2804