One of the biggest joy in old age is to spend quality time with your grandchildren
Highlights : With increased life expectancy,spine problems are more prevalent in old age Spine problems can reduce the quality of life in old age Most of these spine problems can be managed without surgery Surgery is required in a small percentage of patients With the advent of modern techniques and better surgical training, spine surgery can be done in older patients with a very high success rate
Gone are the days when senior citizens would like to retire from their active lifestyle and be confined to the walls of their own houses. Now our next-generation senior citizens are young at heart and want to live their life to the fullest. They want to go on trips with their families, socialize with friends, play with their grandchildren and never be dependant on anyone for their needs. And these expectations are in no way unrealistic. Who would want to live a boring monotonous life even if one turns 70?
However, with ageing, certain factors can limit one’s mobility. One of the most common factors is the ageing of the spine. Problems like back and neck pain, Lumbar canal stenosis, osteoporosis, osteoporotic vertebral fractures, Cervical spondylosis, Myelopathy occur frequently in seniorcitizens. At times, senior citizens may even suffer from spine infections and cancer wherein the bones of the spine get weakened and become a source of pain. These disorders may even cause severe pain in the arms or legs, weakness, imbalance while walking and at times even loss of control over urine and motions. Altogether, these issues may have a negative effect on one’s physical and mental well being. Time and again it has been observed that there is a rapid decline in the health and wellbeing of elderly people if they become homebound or bed-bound for any reason.
The good news is that most of these spine problems can be taken care of with simple measures like activity modification, ergonomic correction, spine specific exercises, medications and certain dietary modifications. A very few percentages of these patients may need surgery to decompress the spinal nerves or to treat a fractured vertebra. Even in cases of spine cancers, the treatment modalities have evolved over the years and spine surgeons or spine specialists can successfully treat the involved spine segment with relative ease.
Elderly people may be suffering from diabetes, hypertension, thyroid and heart diseases. In such cases, though the general risk of any surgery in the elderly may be higher than a young healthy person, the absolute risk of anything going wrong in surgery is still very small. In fact, avoiding surgery and continuing medications for a long time may be dangerous. Many pain medications if taken for a long time can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and liver.
Modern anesthesia, operation theatre facilities and surgical skills have made these surgeries safer than ever before. Depending on the complexity of the problem and type of surgery, patients can expect to get discharged from the hospital within 4-5 days of surgery. Many of minimally invasive spine surgery procedures can also be done on a daycare basis wherein patients can go home on the same day after the procedure. Patients can now expect to resume an active lifestyle within 1 - 2 weeks after Spine surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery procedures avoid tissue trauma and provide faster recovery
Today, we live in a world of possibilities. Don't let the Spine problems come in the way of your parent’s or grandparents’ happiness. Let them age gracefully and enjoy their second innings. Seek help at the right time.
Dr. Mayur Kardile
Spine Specialist in Pune
For Appointment call: +91 777 404 0002