aging and joint pain

“Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” –  Edward Stanley

Our bodies age.

This is both obvious and surprising to people. We know instinctively that aging is an unavoidable consequence of the passage of time. Yet, many of us wake up one day to the jarring realization that we’ve been getting older. It can be unsettling. 

And painful.

Unfortunately, the human condition has been marked by the association of bodily aches, pains and degeneration with aging since the beginning of written history. But it may not be as simple as “cause and effect.”

Are Joint and Muscle Pain Inevitable?

With a few, rare exceptions most people over the age of 40 start to notice that it takes a bit longer to heal from wounds and injuries than it did when they were 20. And strenuous activities tend to take more of a toll on their energy and muscles than they used to.

They start to feel, well, older!

The physiological reality is that our bodies do change as we age. According to UC San Diego Health, for example, muscle mass in both men and women begins to decline as early as our 30s. And, unfortunately, it is typically replaced by body fat. In fact, by the age of 75, the average person’s fat content is twice what it was in their 20s.

Another change that is almost always associated with old age and aging, is joint pain and there are two common causes.

When Joints Start to Fail

Osteoarthritis is a common condition that occurs when the protective cartilage between your joints and bones breaks down, it can cause pain in those joints, especially the hands, knees, and hips. This tissue is the articular cartilage, which is a thin layer of specialized viscoelastic connective tissue with unique properties.

The purpose of the articular cartilage is to provide a smooth, lubricated surface for low friction articulation.

Osteoarthritis is most likely to show up during your 60s and 70s. In fact, it’s estimated that 33  percent of adults over age 60 suffer from it.

Staying physically active is key to preventing or minimizing the aches and pains of osteoarthritis. Physical activity keeps blood circulating, which can help keep your joints healthy and reduce pain. In addition, strengthening the muscles around the joint reduces the pressure on the joint and bone.

In fact, numerous sources such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services all agree that regular and consistent exercise is vital to preventing and treating many forms of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis. 

The other pain that develops in or around the joints is usually caused by tendinitis. This is an inflammation of the tendons, which are bands of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. Common arthritis pain tends to make it difficult or painful to move, while tendinitis shows up as more pain the more you move.

Tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive motion activities such as sweeping, golfing, bowling – any repetitive movement or action arising from a sport or work activity. You may have been doing the same thing for years, but once you pass the age of 40, tendonitis is likely to strike.

This is because as you get older, your tendons become less elastic and are then more prone to injury.

Harvard Health describes it this way,

“When tendons become inflamed, irritated or suffer microscopic tears, the condition is called tendonitis. In most cases, the cause of tendonitis is unknown; when a cause can be identified, the condition usually happens for one of two reasons:

  • overuse – a particular body motion is repeated too often.
  • overload – the level of a certain activity, such as weightlifting, is increased too quickly.”

Initial treatment for tendonitis is rest. If possible, you should avoid using the affected muscles and tendons for a few days to a few weeks so your body has time to repair itself.

In addition, you can apply ice packs to the painful area for 20-minute periods, three or four times a day and consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin to help relieve pain and swelling.

Joint Pain, Tendonitis, and Active Release Technique ®

We can use Active Release Technique ® (ART®) the patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue management system to treat pain problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.

Various types of joint and muscle pain such as chronic back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART®.

All these conditions are often a result of overused muscles which can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue can inhibit tissues that need to move freely and cause tendonitis, nerve entrapment, and muscles to become shorter and weaker.

And this can result in a reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain.

ART® works by breaking up these adhered and unhealthy tissues in the body. This is accomplished with a combination of pressure and tension applied by the practitioner and movement (usually active) on the part of the client.

The result is that these collagen fibers and scar tissue are broken up, restoring a normal range of motion and blood flow, which then results in pain free movement, endurance, and strength.

Counteracting Aging and Relieving Joint Pain

While results can be achieved with ART®, it’s important to remember that when treating any injury or issues causing chronic pain, patience is needed. Time is required for complete healing and too many people rush back into their work or sports activity before they are completely healed.

At Pain and Performance Solutions, we want to help you by treating your pain, so please reach out to us today. You can contact us at (707) 636-4404 and let’s start the healthy journey back to your body’s ultimate healthy state.