Here’s the first blog from osteopath Adam Wilson in a new series on managing the aches and pains that can creep on when we’re past out prime!
There are certain things in life that are inevitable: taxes, policemen looking younger, and – unfortunately – ageing.
While you can’t help ageing and I certainly can’t help you get any younger, you don’t necessarily have to put up with the effects of old age. Osteopathy can help you deal with the aches and pains that come with advancing years, and can help you maintain an active, busy lifestyle.
Worn out by daily life
Think of an average day in your life and all the different activities and jobs that you do. All that work does sometimes cause small amounts of damage, wear and tear. Luckily, the human body is designed to repair itself, and usually any damage is fixed without too much impact. But as we age, these repair processes slow down, and sometimes can’t quite keep up with your desired activity levels!
You probably don’t need me to tell you that the most common areas to be affected are the large joints of the limbs (knees, hips, elbows) and the lower back, which carries most of the weight of your torso. The muscles around these areas also get affected, as they try to help support and protect the area.
All a bit of a pain
Long term aches and pains in these joints can be a sign of wear or degeneration to the surfaces of the bones (otherwise termed osteoarthritis) which can stop you moving around as much as you’d like. While this damage can’t be repaired (at present – although there are experimental treatments being worked on), osteopathy can aid with relieving the pain.
Lack of movement as a result of pain can also in turn lead to poor circulation of the lubricating fluid in the joints. So the problem gets exacerbated. And worse still, with restriction in the joints, the muscles around the area can become tight and uncomfortable, as they try to support and protect the joints. So without some help and light exercise, it’s very easy to get caught in a vicious circle.
Relief at last
So how can osteopathy help? By working on the muscles and taking out some of the tightness, not only do the muscles have a chance to recover, but the joints are allowed more freedom to move and circulation of the lubricating fluid will be stimulated. Older tissues are less adaptable, and therefore need more help to cope with the added stresses and strains of life, especially when there are injuries or problems to cope with. Helping tissues to relax not only helps them to be able to do their job more effectively, it also helps to allow more blood to flow through them. And blood of course carries all the oxygen and nutrients that muscles need to work properly.
Don’t back off
And what about your lower back, (a prime area for discomfort, whatever your age)? Well your back receives a lot of support from the muscles around it and in the abdominal region. Think of them as like a belt, keeping everything in place. Age unfortunately makes muscles less effective in their job and quite often, the desire to stop doing the things that make your back hurt – gardening, walking, maybe golf – leads to further weakening of the muscles, and therefore less support for the back that needs it!
By not only working to relieve pain in the muscles, but giving gentle strengthening exercises to help build muscle effectiveness, osteopaths can help to encourage and support your active lifestyle as well as take away some of the pain.
In my next blog, I’m going to have a closer look at different forms of exercise, how that can help and some common issues that you may be struggling with.
But if you have got a nagging pain that is slowing you down, why not get in touch.