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As we age our intervertebral discs (shock absorbers) undergo wear and tear due to loss of moisture. This can ultimately result in painful back conditions especially if bone grows onto the nerves (spinal stenosis). Adopting a healthy lifestyle, can prevent this from being a problem in our golden years.


As people get older, the stress of everyday life eventually starts to wear down the spine over time. The most notable changes to the spine with ageing is that the moisture content between the vertebral discs starts to decline, resulting in the vertebrae rubbing against each other, leading to stiffness and back pain. The decline in function and flexibility is natural due to the deterioration of vertebral bones and intervertebral discs. But there are several preventive measures one can incorporate into their lives to maintain spinal flexibility and comfort well into your golden years.

Previous spinal injury would naturally increase the propensity for spine health reduction over time. However, factors like obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle can further accelerate spinal deterioration with age. We recommend that patients adopt a healthy plant-predominant diet and follow the six pillars of lifestyle medicine to maintain the best possible spinal health. Spinal complaints in older adults often manifest as early morning back stiffness and pain, leg pain when standing and walking, reduction in height and others.

Better Spine Health

According to global health data, back pain is the commonest condition causing long term disability in the whole world and neck pain ranks fourth! This is mostly due to the burden placed on our spines by our sedentary modern-day lifestyles. Living pain-free is a choice that each person must make for themselves. Starting to make better choices NOW for spinal health is the best choice anyone can make. No matter the age or condition, one can take immediate steps to improve or delay spinal deterioration by choosing better lifestyle options.

Refer to the section on Lifestyle Medicine (hyperlink) to learn more. I can help you to adopt a practical and an achievable plan so that you can maintain optimal spine health. You can also book a consultation to learn how you can improve your lifestyle to prevent spinal deterioration. I will discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure with you at your consultation.

Degeneration of the Spine occurs as we Age

Age and poor lifestyle choices often lead to wear and tear of the spine, resulting in sciatica, spinal fractures and other such conditions. These may require conventional or corrective measures, but in some cases, orthopaedic treatment to alleviate the symptoms. Surgery of the spine is usually the last resort to resolve conditions that cannot be treated by conventional methods, a change in lifestyle or non-surgical methods.
Monitor your recovery with the MyRecovery app

Specially Customised for you

Your version of the app will be customised specifically for you, by your surgeon.

This app will provide you with video messages from your consultant, highlighting key points during your patient journey.

To aid in your recovery process, it will provide you with:

  • Interactive exercise plans
  • Demonstration videos
  • Progress graphs
  • Useful articles chosen by your clinical team and more.

This app is in conjunction with Total Orthopaedics. To download the app, please scan in the QR code below:

Rajiv Bajekal is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with special interest in Spinal and Back-related issues. He has developed a pragmatic approach to managing back pain and sciatica with non-surgical techniques, injections and minimally invasive techniques. Mr Bajekal is also a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner and believes in providing lifestyle medicine advice to his patients for better long term health gains and better spinal health. He has been consulting since 1998. He consults both privately and on the National Health Service (NHS) and is passionate about making sure patients are in control of their healthcare.

Mr Bajekal is a member of the following institutions:

  • British Medical Association (BMA)
  • British Association of Spine Surgeons
  • British Society of Lifestyle Medicine (BSLM)
  • Plant-Based Health Professionals