Why Does Your Back Hurt as You Get Older?

No one bends over backwards at the thought of getting old. The natural aging process brings noticeable differences, which tend to include more than just a few gray hairs and an extended waistline. According to Dr. Alexis Tigan from Penn Medicine, most people tend to experience back pain and neck pain in their 40s. Although lower back pain is more common than upper back pain, you may experience both during your middle-age years.

Read our blog to learn how to identify and avoid four common back problems in your 40s and shop our range of back care products to relieve your back, neck or arthritis pain. Back Care Online is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of back care products, and many of our products have been recommended by top healthcare professionals, such as doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths and occupational therapists.

What is the Most Common Back Problem in Later Life?

The spine is one of the most complex parts of the human body, as it consists of hundreds of different muscles, nerves, discs, joints, ligaments and bones. The spine provides support, strength and flexibility to the body, which is why an aging spine can be so detrimental to your health. Although experiencing back and neck pain as you age is common, the four most typical back problems that occur in your 40s are: disc deterioration, muscle and bone deterioration, arthritis and spinal stenosis.

Disc Deterioration

As you grow older, the discs between your spine which absorb the shock from running or walking begin to lose water and dry out. The loss of fluid causes the discs in your back to become smaller in size, narrower and less absorbent, which then puts you at a higher risk of suffering a herniated disc. Herniated discs hinder the natural curvature of the spine and prevent you from being able to bend or flex easily. 

Bone & Muscle Deterioration

Like the discs in your back, your muscles and bone density changes in your 40s. People tend to reach their peak bone density between the ages of 25 and 30 and see it slowly decrease as they age. People also suffer muscle loss in their middle-age years since it takes longer to rebuild bone density and muscles. Ligaments also become less flexible, making it harder to bend beyond a certain point.


Many people in their 40s complain about inflammation and pain in their joints. This pain is classified as Osteoarthritis and is created when the cartilage that’s connected to your joints slowly begins to deteriorate. A lack of cartilage causes bone on bone friction, which leads to increased pressure on the joints and inflammation. If you notice pain in your neck specifically, then you may be suffering from Cervical Spondylosis, which is arthritis of the neck. View our range of neck pillows for relief from Cervical Spondylosis now.

Spinal Stenosis 

If you’re in your 40s and you’re experiencing numbness, pain or cramping, especially in your hips or legs, then you may be suffering from Spinal Stenosis. Spinal Stenosis is a nerve condition that’s created when parts of the spine narrows and places pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves. If you feel a sharp pain or numbness in your hips or legs specifically, then you may have Sciatica, An orthopedic doctor can diagnosis both,

Please Be Advised

Most 40-year olds aren’t as active as they once were in their 20s and 30s, but regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial to fighting and controlling back pain. By biking, swimming and eating a healthy, balanced diet you’ll reduce your risk of back problems and injuries. Being overweight puts immense pressure on your musculoskeletal system, as stated by Dr. Alexis Tigan, who even went as far to say that each pound you weigh puts four pounds of pressure on your spine when you’re walking and eight pounds on your spine when running. A sedentary life isn’t the answer to staying on top of your back pain, so get outside and avoid back pain one step at a time!

Shop our selection of back pain pillows, wedges, pressure cushions and mattress toppers today.