50 & BEYOND
Aging doesn't cause pain but as we get older, simple mechanical strains and glitches often cause the problems that we mistakenly blame on aging.
- getting weaker
- developing brittle bones
- becoming stooped
- losing balance
- suffering increased aches and pains
We may not be able to get younger but we can certainly do something about the rest!
Here’s how we help:
Build Stronger Muscles
A graduated programme of resistance exercise builds and maintains muscle strength and size for all ages. We have to challenge our muscles by making them work against relatively heavy weights. As a general rule, if you can move a weight 10-12 times and not feel particularly tired, then the weight is too light. Endurance will improve but not strength. Always remember, however, that if you are new to weight training start gently and get advice about correct technique.
Build Stronger Bones
Appropriate exercise can reduce the loss of bone density. For the hip, we need weight-bearing exercise such as walking, stairs, and lifting weights. For the spine, we need to strengthen the back muscles. For a start, try lying on your front over 2-3 pillows and then lift your head shoulders off the bed and hold for 5 seconds.
Improve Your Posture
Are you beginning to stoop when you walk or have you caught yourself slouching when you sit? If so, it will affect your balance and cause weakened spinal bones to bend so that you become permanently hunched. How can you find the correct posture? Easy. Sit or stand as straight as you can, really straight. Exaggerate. Now let off the strain but remain tall. This will give you good and efficient posture. It may be tiring at first but your muscles will soon get used to it and you will feel much better.
Learn Better Balance
When we are kids, we are always challenging our balance. As adults, we sit, we stand... but we do not get ourselves in situations where we have to balance. Easy, safe balance exercises can reduce the risks of falling. To begin, try standing on one leg in a corner so that if you do overbalance, the walls will prevent you from falling. When you can do this for 30 seconds without needing to touch the walls, try it with your eyes closed. Much harder!
Don’t Just Accept Aches and Pains
Contrary to popular belief, many aches and pains in people over 50 are due to minor and reversible problems of the joints, muscles or tendons; they are not necessarily due to “worn out” or arthritic joints. My physical assessment can determine whether your pains can be rapidly abolished. Most people can significantly benefit from an individualised programme that keeps bones and muscles in good working order.
All you need to feel younger and stronger is:
- A proper musculo-skeletal assessment-----MY ROLE
- A little time and effort------YOUR ROLE
A Bad Back Story from Spain...
On a recent lecturing assignment in Spain, I saw a woman who had been troubled by back pain for thirty years. During the last ten years, she had experienced daily pain and was becoming increasingly disabled. She was unable to stand up straight and could not walk more than a few hundred meters; she was only fifty-seven. Despite consulting numerous clinicians, her problem remained unresolved.
I asked her to bend forwards a few times and she told me that her pain was getting steadily worse.
“Lie face down,” I asked her so she would move in the opposite direction. “Push your shoulders off the bed, allowing your low back to sag.”
At first she said it was uncomfortable, but gradually her movement improved and her pain began to abolish. When she stood up her spine was straight and her pain was almost gone.
“Do these simple stretches a few times a day,” I said, “and to make sure you always sit with a hollow in your back.”
The next day she reported dramatic relief. She was overwhelmed that she was finally able to take control of her pain.
Naturally, I was pleased that she had improved so much but my overriding feeling was one of sorrow. This woman would have responded just as quickly ten, twenty or thirty years ago if only someone had performed some simple tests.
A growing body of high quality research studies show that up to 50% of people with chronic low back pain and 70% of people with acute back pain have the capacity to rapidly reverse their pain using simple exercises and postures. I believe that all people with back pain deserve that opportunity.