A common refrain we hear from our clients during initial assessments goes like this, “I guess it’s just old age” or, “I must be getting old”. So, is pain inevitable? Is this how it has to be? As we get older should we expect our joints to hurt, snap, crackle, and pop?
The answer is complicated. The short answer is no. It doesn’t have to hurt, but, there are a few factors we need to get in check if we want to live a mobile, low pain life.
- TLDR: It doesn’t matter what you do. Find something you enjoy, yoga, weightlifting, strength training, hiking. There’s a whole industry and slew of social media accounts making you feel like there is a perfect way to exercise. There isn’t. All that matters is that you choose an activity you enjoy, and do it at a sufficient intensity to get your heart rate up while you’re moving.
2) Previous injury
- Unfortunately if you’ve had a prior injury (we are talking traumatic, not light muscle strains or irritation) you are more at risk to develop symptomatic changes in your joints as you get older (changes in the joint are normal, pain associated with them is not). This means you need to take care of those joints. Everyone has a tooth they have to floss a little bit more because it gets more gunk stuck in it, that’s your injured joint. It needs a bit more love. Regularly moving and strengthening the muscles across the joint in a pain free/low pain way will help take care of this part.
3) Lifestyle factors
- Bodies are often compared to machines. We are told that things hurt because things are out of place, muscles are overactivated, posture is bad. But really the amount that these factors contribute to pain is minimal. Research now shows that most pain has more to do with what is going on in addition to those changes in our bodies. How are you sleeping? How are you eating? How do you manage stress? Do you worry about your body breaking down with age? What do you do the other 23 hours a day when you are not being active?
That’s your check in, 3 things to keep in mind as we age. Get on top of those nagging old injuries, get active, and keep those healthy lifestyles in check. Doing all these will help keep you moving, feeling good, and working towards the quality of life we all crave well into those golden years.