Hobbies for Seniors Who Have Back Pain

Back pain is a common complaint of older Americans. Per Health Policy Institute, nearly 65 million American report a recent episode of back pain and some 16 million adults experience persistent or chronic back pain. And, one in four adults with back pain is in fair to poor physical health. Unfortunately, back problems can interfere with regular activities that most people enjoy. So, what hobbies are the best for seniors who have back pain?

Before jumping in, anyone experiencing back pain should see their doctor for evaluation. Sudden back pain may indicate a new condition and may even be a symptom of a heart attack. Thus, it should never be ignored. Chronic back pain also has many different causes. Once a patient is evaluated, a doctor will indicate which activities are safest. It’s important to talk to your doctor about which hobbies you enjoy so that you may remain active. Unfortunately, adults with back pain tend to grow less active and this can bring on a whole new set of problems, including leading individuals to become out of shape and overweight. This is never desirable; therefore diagnosis, treatment, and management of back pain is necessary to maintain overall health and well-being.

It’s important to maintain hobbies even when experiencing some aches and pains. Hobbies we enjoy provide a sense of purpose, help keep our minds and bodies engaged, sharpen our skills, and make us happy. Per Pain Doctor, the number one unpleasant side effect of pain is boredom. That’s because humans are not designed to simply observe all day long, they are meant to do things. Examples of hobbies that may be enjoyed by people with back pain are cross stitch, crocheting, knitting, reading, listening to podcasts, doing mental puzzles like Sudoku, coloring, painting and more. These stationary activities are fun yet not physically straining.

For folks who have trouble sitting for a long time due to back pain, talk to your physician about ways to get and stay comfortable, perhaps sitting in a special chair or moving around periodically to keep muscles from tightening up. Talk to your doctor about swimming. This is one activity that can benefit people. Doctors may recommend practicing slow strokes, doing gentle guided water aerobics, treading water, or using flotation devices. Physical fitness is important as moving around keeps people fit and benefits specific parts of the body, such as improving heart health.

Back pain is a leading cause of chronic pain in the United States. And, unfortunately, many senior citizens experience back pain due to aging, arthritis, and other conditions. But this doesn’t mean one has to give up. Rather, by seeing a doctor to control medical conditions and reduce pain, and by maintaining hobbies that enrich one’s life, positive results may be enjoyed. Remaining active, both mentally and physically, allows older people – especially seniors with back pain – to not only stay in the game, but to win. 

This article is not intended as a medical resource or substitute for medical advice. Rather, it is for general informational purposes only.

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