85 year old mother has aches in arms and legs

by Nancy

Hi....My mom is 85 and in good health. But, she does suffer from osteoperosis. She has had 2 compression fractures in her back, and recently discovered she has one in her T5. She is in a lot of pain. She saw a GP and then went to the orthopedic surgeon that replaced her hips several years ago. He did a bone scan, blood tests, and x-rays. It was confirmed this new compression fracture had happened. She is on a pain killer and was given a brace, which she hates to wear. The fracture was caused by pulling open a door that was stuck three weeks ago. She says the pain in her back is not what is bothering her, it is the pain in her arms....from her shoulders to her elbows..and her legs. She says it is a very painful ache. She had complained of this before her compression fracture. The GP prescribed Aleve type product....nothing. So he put her on Predisone...but only for a short time. This seemed to help. She also has glaucoma....so worries how this would affect her eyes. So now, she is on prescribed pain meds for the compression fracture....but complains more of the ache in her arms and legs. It is more when she wakes up in the morning. ...but is bothersome throughout the day. She does have a slightly elevated arthritis factor. I am concerned as I have read on your site about the nerves being pinched.....We used to have an amazing chiropractor...but he passed away. She does not want anyone pushing on her back....because of the fractures....but is there something that could be done for the ache? Yikes.not easy to get old.....but really not easy to live in pain. Thank you!
I look forward to your reply...

Hello Nancy,
No it's not easy to get old, but when you think of the alternative, you realise it's a privilege to get old.

It would seem that Mother's leg and arm aches are probably independent of the new fracture. In fact, if it's not bothering, it probably isn't new.

I obviously can't assess and diagnose your mother's problems but I'm busy right now with a 90 year old lady, fit and feisty, but low back and leg pain. She's amazingly better, not cured of course, that doesn't exist, but better, walking better, sleeping better...

It's hard going to a new chiropractor, like a new dentist, but that's what's needed. Start looking for a reputable chiro in your town, gather all your X-rays, and I expect he can contribute to her condition.

Try and keep her as active as possible, walk with a stick, do back, hip and shoulder exercises...

I hope this has contributed.

Dr B
And of course, make sure her diet doesn't consist of tea and toast. Like everyone else, she needs fruit and veg, protein, preferably including vegetable protein (like tofu or hummus, green beans...) and the healthy fats, especially avocado and olive, and if her cholesterol is okay, butter in moderation.

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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