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Health SceneIs Back Pain Simply a Normal Part of Getting Older?BY DR. TIMOTHY GATES, Bronson Neuroscience Center, Battle CreekAs we age, things change. Un- fortunately, that sometimes includes back pain. There are many things that can contribute to and cause back pain. But if you’renearing the age of 60, your pain may be caused by tiny cracks in your vertebrae. If left untreated, these hairline fractures can increase, weakening the spine, and causing it to collapse. This is called a spinal compression fracture.The leading cause of spinal compres- sion fractures is osteoporosis, a disease that causes brittle, weakened bones, making them more prone to fracturing. Most common in women over 50, nearly 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and another 44 million with low bone density are at an increased risk.Depending on the severity of osteopo- rosis, everyday tasks could contribute to spinal compression factures and often af- fect the middle to lower back. This could range from falling to lifting a heavy ob- ject or even coughing or sneezing.Spinal compression fractures are of- ten very painful. Multiple fractures can cause increased pain, a visual loss of height, and/or muscle fatigue. Unfortu- nately, only one-third of spinal fractures are diagnosed as many assume the pain is caused by age.When you are experiencing back pain, you should see your primary careheal faster. Plus, you can get back to the things you love doing sooner.For spinal compression fractures, I perform a minimally invasive procedure called kyphoplasty. During the proce- dure, balloons are used to gently lift and stabilize the fractured bone, returning it to the correct position. Then the fractured bones are cemented from within to glue the pieces back together. This procedure can help reduce pain, improve mobility, and restore height and alignment. This procedure is typically done during the day and, within a few hours, you are ableAre you having back or neck pain? See your primary care provider or call the Bronson Neuroscience Center for more information.Bronson Neuroscience Center:(269) 245-5964Find a Primary Care Provider: (269) 341-778810 SCENE 4401 I MEN IN BUSINESSdoctor right away to avoid more health risks. Your doctor will most likely refer you to an expert who has received spe- cialized training to treat back and neck pain.At Bronson Neuroscience Center in Battle Creek, our team not only spe- cializes in treating back and neck pain, we focus on doing so without the use of surgery whenever able and, if surgery is needed, using minimally-invasive pro- cedures if possible. This helps you have less pain, fewer scars and bleeding, andto begin moving around and go home to recover. Most people have immediate pain relief and are back to normal activi- ties within a week.The bottom line is, if you’re having back or neck pain, don’t continue to suf- fer. There are many options available to help relieve your pain.Timothy Gates, PhD, DO, is a neu- rosurgeon with Bronson Neuroscience Center in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. He has received specialized training from Stanford University Medical Center.

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