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Getting old...and getting joint pain

It would be an unusual week for me if I didn’t receive the advice “don’t get old” at least 2-3 times. This is firstly because of my (annoyingly) boyish face that makes people think I’m younger than I am really and secondly because I’m assessing someone who has developed pain that they didn’t have when they was “young”.

A lot of the patients I see as a physio believe that their symptoms are down to their age and in some respects they are right. Our joints gradually become less flexible and robust over time and might start to complain when they’ve had a long day. Understanding a bit more about arthritis is usually helpful - you can check a previous post I’ve done on that on the blog page.

The joint isn’t the only thing that changes over time however. Compared to our younger days, the majority of us tend to be a lot less active as we get older, start to work, have children, find Netflix and find little to no time for exercise (although really we can always make the time).

Once we hit 30, we lose around 3% of muscle strength every year and if we rarely use our muscles our joints start to take more and more load. It’s easy to get away with being lazy these days, as we can drive all the way to our work place, have our shopping delivered to the front door and avoid lifting anything heavy unless we really want to - so our muscles can chill out and take it easy.

Keeping yourself fit, strong and active helps to maintain some of our strength, offload our joints and grow old without so many complaints and GP visits.

Luckily there’s still plenty of exercise you can do that will do wonders for your joints and these can sometimes be so simple! I’ve even found exercise to help relieve pain for people who have been told they have “bone on bone” changes in their joints - as the increasing strength of surrounding muscles helps to reduce the pressure on the joint. Some people have been able to avoid surgery by doing the right exercise and making some lifestyle changes. You often just need to follow the right advice.

If your joint pain is making you feel your age - don’t go on thinking that it’s a normal part of ageing and there’s nothing that can be done for it! Physio At The Door has plenty of experience treating joint pain - with exercise, acupuncture, hands-on treatment and lifestyle advice all part of a treatment plan that will help to reduce your pain and get you active again.

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