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Pain Management/Pain prevention and management in aging.


What pain can people expect with age? After age 30 my health hasn't been nearly as comfortable to me as during my 20's and I'm 35 and have a lower right back pain for no known reason and an nsaid and stretches are all the advice my doctor's assistant gave me. I can't imagine wanting to live my life with pain that keeps me awake and keeps me from exercise as much as I know I need to. What is normal for different age groups?

Dear James,

I'll list the possible reasons and short advice for pain prevention and management with aging. Should you'll need more details and references for any of the points, please don't hesitate asking me.

1. INFLAMMATION. This is the usual suspect in any age and the most probable suspect in the aging population. If you are even slightly overweight, losing a couple pounds will help fast because the adipose tissue is prone to generate inflammation. You might be surprised but the eating plan to prevent cognitive decline in aging will also prevent pain increase because both ailments are inflammation-related (see the eating dos and donts below).

2. MUSCLE SPASM. It closely relates to inflammation but does have specifics and the usual suspect is magnesium deficit, a very common nutritional deficiency. The problem with magnesium is that it is badly tolerated in its oral form so it's practically impossible to get the sound dose this way. The solution is transdermal application: you simply rub it into your skin it is no oily or irritating . You can find a company selling so called "magnesium oil".

3. SITTING POSITION. If you are sitting too long, which is the case for the most of us, especially if you habitually sit asymmetrically (crossing your legs, etc.) - it results in habitual muscle tension. The solutions: every 30 minuets, stand up, stretch for a minute or two, and if you can arrange this - work another 30 minutes standing. If you cannot do this, watch that  you sit strictly upright and symmetrically. Try to get an ergonomic chair with so called Akerblom spinal support (search the Net). Do "invisible" exercises and/or walk some stairs every hour. Ask me, if you fail finding them on youtube.

This being said, here are the dos and donts eating rules for fighting inflammation.

EAT these:

Green leafy vegetables    >6 times a week
Other vegetables        >1 times a day
Nuts          >5 times a week  
Berries         >2/times a week
Beans         >3 times a week
Whole grains       >3 times a day
Fish          >1 time a week
Poultry         >2 times a week
Olive oil         main oil for cooking/dressing
Wine          1 times a day  

LIMIT these:

Red meats         <4/times a week   
Butter          <1 Tbs a day
Cheese          <1 time a week
Pastries and sweets      <5 times a week
Fried or fast food      <1 time a week

What is considered whole grains:

Corn, including whole cornmeal and popcorn
Oats, including oatmeal
Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
Sorghum (also called milo)
Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut®, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
Wild rice

Hope it helps,

Tatiana Zilberter, PhD  

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Tatiana Zilberter


I'll do my best to answer any question, which can ease your pain. My stronger topics are:
- General pain mechanisms: explanatory answers
- Pain neuroscience you can use
- Pain management without drugs
- Alternative/holistic techniques
- Pain education for self help

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