How much does AGE have to do with Low Back Pain and Arthritis?

Is spinal Arthritis normal with Ageing?

What most Doctors don’t tell you about Spinal Arthritis.

Low back pain is epidemic – and often when people finally do something about it they find that their X-rays are showing signs of degeneration/wear and tear/arthritis. This spinal decay is often attributed to age. It is commonly thought that degenerative changes in the low back, in fact the whole spine is a ‘age related’ phenomena.

As much as arthritis of the spine is seem more in the older population – it is not normal. It’s like saying cancer is seen more in the older population, so it is normal. Both are far from the truth. In our office we see many people with low back pain and if arthritis is present, then in most cases it is in one to two spinal joints, not the whole lower back. This dispels the theory that in most cases, arthritis is age related. If that is the case, then you would expect ALL the areas to be degenerating, not just one or two.

In this video, our goal is to help you understand the WHY. Why does the spine degenerate and lead to a host of related health issues such as;
– disc degeneration
– nerve damage
– nerve pain
– joint pain
– muscular pain

All affecting quality of life.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are walking on the outside of one of your shoes for one minute. What would happen to your shoe? Nothing. Now imagine you are walking on the outside of your shoe each and every day for one month. The outcome would be different. The uneven forces placed on the side of the shoe you are walking on would be greater than you walking evenly. The shoe will start to wear away, decay or in other words degenerate.

Similar with your spine.

When the spine is aligned well and moving well, the spine should not degenerate. As long as there are no other complicating factors. It is all about alignment and function. Minimising the bio-mechanical forces on joints, muscles, and nerves will minimise the stress on them and minimise the wear and tear.

In one paper it states that ‘the majority of the studies (100/128 or 78%) have found a positive association between sagittal plane curves/posture and health disorders.’ (1)
In other words, curve changes affect the health of the spine and nervous system.
Another study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery Research mentioned the negative affects that changes in low back movement has on spinal degeneration. ‘Studies have shown that lumbar disc herniation, degenerative lumbar instability, and other degenerative lumbar spinal diseases are often secondary to disc degeneration. By studying the intervertebral disc, researchers have clarified the pathological changes involved in intervertebral disc degeneration but have ignored the roles of bio-mechanical factors in the development of disc degeneration. ‘ (2)

Causing factors of abnormal alignment and function of the spine include:

– Prolonged poor posture
– Prolonged sitting
– History of sporting accidents
– History of motor vehicle accidents
– Short leg
– Scoliosis
– Scheuermann’s Disease
– Repetitive work
– Repetitive sport, eg. Golf
– Poor foot wear choice

The longer the stresses are place on the spine, the more wear and tear will occur. It’s very much a vicious cycle of further degeneration causing more problems with spinal movement and alignment.


Stopping the cycle is the key. Improving the health of the spine by improving how the spine is aligned with Chiropractic BioPhysics and improving the function with low back chiropractic adjustments is important. It’s like the shoe analogy – the sooner we correct our walk and level out the pressure on the shoe, the sooner we stop the wear and tear from progressing.

1.Deed et al, Sagittal spinal curves and health
2.Wei et al, J Ortho Surg Res Correlations between the sagittal plane parameters of the spine and pelvis and lumbar disc degeneration 2018 Jun 4;13(1):137. doi: 10.1186/s13018-018-0838-6.