The causes of degenerative changes in the lumbar spine are complex and multifaceted, and can be summarized in the following aspects.
1. Long-term lumbar spine activity and excessive load, improper posture
The above causes can cause the water and nutrients of the nucleus pulposus to decrease, the volume of the intervertebral disc to shrink rapidly, and the elasticity to decrease significantly, followed by the gradual narrowing of the vertebral space and the formation of lip-like osteophytes at the edge of the vertebral body, which stimulates and compresses the surrounding tissues, especially the nerve tissue, thus producing symptoms of lumbar pain.
2. Endocrine disorder
It is well known that endocrine function has a direct relationship with bone metabolism. For example, when sex hormone secretion is reduced or adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion is hyperactive, it can cause osteoporosis, ligament and joint capsule relaxation including the lumbar spine. On this basis, a sudden increase in the load on the lumbar spine may cause symptoms of lumbar pain.
3. Body shape change
The normal human spine has four physiological curvatures, namely the cervical and lumbar vertebrae are anteriorly convex, and the thoracic and sacral vertebrae are posteriorly convex. The line of gravity of the human body passes through the back of the vertebrae or intervertebral discs of the lumbar spine rather than through the synovial joints.
If an elderly person is too obese, the weight of the front part of the body increases, making the lumbar vertebrae anteriorly convex, which causes strain on the synovial joints and degenerative changes on the one hand; on the other hand, the lumbar extensor muscles gradually relax and then contract to accommodate the increase in anteriorly convex curvature, thus causing back pain. If the elderly are too thin, not only are their internal organs prone to sagging, but also the joint capsule and ligaments can cause total laxity (including the lumbar region), resulting in instability of the lower lumbar vertebrae, thus producing symptoms of lumbar pain.
4. Degenerative changes of the lumbar spine
When the human body enters adulthood, development gradually stops, followed by the beginning of degenerative changes. Degenerative changes in the lumbar spine can often lead to lumbar pain symptoms.
Common degenerative diseases in the elderly include lumbar hypertrophic spondylitis, lower lumbar instability, and age-related hunchback deformity. The lumbar pain caused by degenerative changes in the lumbar spine is mainly soreness and pain, and is accompanied by restricted movement and inflexibility, and the pain is reduced after a little activity, but gradually increases after excessive lumbar activity or weight bearing.
Some conditions such as visceral diseases, spinal cord tumors, lumbar spine tuberculosis, etc. can also cause low back pain in the elderly. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully differentiate low back pain in the elderly to avoid misdiagnosis and omission.