25 April 2016

Coping with aging aches

Ouch! Yes, those annoying aches and pains we begin to feel creeping up right around the early 40s. You know, the all time, “my back hurts”, “my knees hurt when I bend my legs”, “Running? No thank you.” So folks, as much as we want to deny the tragedy of it all, we are aging!

What happens as we age?

Well, aging means our bodies are decaying. With decaying muscles aging achesand bones, it becomes harder for the body to carry its weight and engage those physical activities we were used to engage so painlessly. As early as our late 40s, we begin to feel discomfort in the low back, running becomes a bit painful and climbing stairs hurts at the knees and hips. Lifting heavy objects from the ground up seems to be a perfect task for Hercules.

Why do we ache as we age?

We begin to lose muscle mass and bone density. The loss of muscle decreases our strength and endurance. We have more difficulty completing activities that require strength during longer periods of time.

The loss of bone density results in our bones becoming brittle. Brittle bones increase the potential for fractures, which may cause serious falls and other accidents.

Joints lose cartilage. The cartilage between the joints works as a cushion for the joints to move and also to absorb the impact or force applied on the joints due to physical activity. When the cartilage is lost, the grinding of the bones occur, contributing to a decrease in their range of motion.

What can we do to ache less?

Exercise is one of the best ways to slow or prevent problems with the muscles, joints, and bones. Moderate exercise, at least 3 times per week can maintain strength, balance and flexibility. Exercise contributes to increased bone density.

Talk to your health care provider before engaging a new exercise program.

It is important to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium. Women need to be especially careful to get enough calcium and vitamin D due to osteoporosis.

Consider adding ramps, stairlifts and other medical durable durable medical equipment
equipment to the home. This equipment may help with easing or eliminating pain when going up and down steps and stairs.