Do you tend to blamed age for regular aches and pains in your muscles and around your joints? A lot of people seem willing to accept that they’ll find it hard to open jars, or to get up from sitting without using their hands to support you as they get older. But, what if you were told that these things aren’t inevitable, that they are often relatively simplem problems of muscle weakness and imbalance that can be treated and reduced, even resolved?
This isn’t just my view as a massage therapist – though I see it often enough in my clients. It is also the view of a consultant rheumatologist (Professor Philip Conaghan) who was interviewed on Radio 4 recently.
It's believed that around 20% of GP consultations are for musculo-skeletal problems and around a third or more of these are likely to be due to muscle weakness rather than be due to illness or ageing itself. That’s a lot of people who could find help with their pain levels and mobility through correction of weak and unbalanced muscles.
Fortunately, this doesn't mean that you need to rush off to join a gym, or to do any extreme forms of fitness. The important thing is to first identify where the problem lies - it’s not necessarily where you feel the discomfort. The pain or discomfort you feel might be referred pain or pain in another part of the body which is being thrown out of alignment by the real problem area.
Once the origin of the problem has been identified, you can start using certain movement and gentle strengthening exercises which both help the muscles in the correct way. These can be done at as gently as you need to and benefits generally result sooner than you probably expect.
It was refreshing for me to hear a person with such professional standing as Professor Conaghan confirming what I see every day in my work – that many of the so-called problems of old age can be addressed through very gentle exercise and movement and through correcting imbalances in the muscles which have occurred over time. Many of my clients are in their 70s and 80s, even 90s and their relief on experiencing the benefits of this approach - becoming more mobile and significantly reducing any pain and discomfort - is wonderful to see. So do remember that, whatever your age, you really are never too old to benefit from a professional approach to freeing up and then strengthening your muscles.
I offer specialised physical therapies including massage and myofascial release work in Leicestershire. Contact me to discover how I might help you improve your mobility and decrease stiffness and pain.