Becoming rounded and stooped is not a natural part of getting older. This type of spinal misalignment, known as a dowager’s hump, can cause chronic back and neck pain and can even have a negative effect on circulation, breathing, and organ function. The curvature can also alter overall balance and increase a senior’s risk of falling. The following are steps your elderly loved one can take to maintain a strong, straight back regardless of age.
1. Practice Good Posture
While dowager’s humps are often associated with osteoporosis, they can also develop over time as the result of bad posture. When people slouch or lean their heads forward, they place a tremendous amount of stress on the cervical vertebrae and the middle back. Over time, this can lead to subtle fractures of the vertebrae and the formation of fibrous material around the bones that support the weight of the neck. When sitting, standing, or walking, the pelvis should be squarely underneath the torso instead of jutting forward or backward. For example, the ankles and the middle of the knee and hip should form a straight line when viewed from the side while standing. The hip should also be perpendicular to the ground.
If your loved one needs help maintaining good posture and healthy habits, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Nashville, Tennessee, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Perform Core Strengthening Exercises
Slouching is often the result of weak abdominal and back muscles. Exercises that strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and extend the back can prevent and possibly even correct spinal curvature. A healthcare provider can determine the best core strengthening exercises for your loved one.
3. Do Weight and Strength Training Exercises
Weight-bearing exercises strengthen the bones so they are less prone to compression fractures that can cause a dowager’s hump. Even 30 minutes of walking can have beneficial effects on bone strength. Be sure to consult a doctor before your loved one begins an exercise regimen to ensure it is appropriate for him or her.
Seniors who need transportation to medical appointments and assistance with exercise can benefit from having an in-home caregiver. When searching for reliable Nashville home care agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.
4. Get Plenty of Vitamins C and D
Strong bones are essential for a straight, healthy spine. Most people realize calcium is necessary for strong, healthy bones, but vitamins C and D are equally important. Vitamin C is required for the proper functioning of the osteoblast cells that create new bone. The body also uses vitamin C to produce the collagen that serves as the framework for bones. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium.
5. Screen for Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak, brittle, and prone to fractures. Over time, the tiny compression fractures can cause a rounding of the spine. The condition is most common in postmenopausal women, but it can also affect older men. A painless bone density scan can determine the extent of bone loss. If necessary, your loved one’s doctor can prescribe oral or injectable medications to restore bone mass.
Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Nashville live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. If your elderly loved one needs high-quality in-home care, call Home Care Assistance at (615) 326-9849 today.