Aches and Pain Thought to be Natural Part of Aging
Knees start to hurt. Hips start to ache. Maybe your lower back too. And you finally understand what “tennis elbow” means. You know what “Aches and Pain” mean. Welcome to getting older.
For years, your bones, muscles, and joints have held up with nothing more than a minor twinge here or a bruise there. Now, however, it takes longer to get out of bed and daily aches and pains seem to be the norm.
While it may sound counterproductive, studies have shown that engaging in a moderate strength training program not only helps in toning up, but strengthening muscles that can ache for days. This is especially true as you get older.
Tips to Help Muscles and Joints Feel Better
Experts say that while some pain is expected as you age, it is also the body’s way of telling you something. The following tips can help tired, sore muscles and joints feel better:
* Soothe with heat. A warm shower or bath, hot water bottle, or warm cloth can help relax tired muscles and ease muscle spams.
* Invite in the cold — therapy, that is. Ice packs can soothe pain, especially if a joint is inflamed or swelling (think joints ankles, elbows, shoulders). Try a cool cloth, cold pack, cold compress wrap, or ice massage. Typically the time is 15-20 minutes on, and the same amount of time off the joint or muscle.
* Practice deep breathing. The benefits of using the breath to soothe yourself cannot be underscored enough. Slow, quiet breathing helps relax the body and mind and ease the pain. Aim for about six long, deep breaths a minute.
* Get a massage. A foot, back, or hand rub can also alleviate pain. Warm oil or lotion may also help you relax. One note: massage in one area for 10 seconds first to see if it feels good.
* Invest in a stairlift. If you have stairs in your home, and there are days that you just can’t seem to make it up due to tired, aching muscles, a stairlift can help. Unlike chair lifts of old, new models are powered by two small 12-volt batteries under the seat or by regular house current. The chair and built-in footrest typically fold up when not in use. Available for straight or curved stairs, these lifts can be a godsend if you’re recovering from an injury. The lifts include safety belts, lockable swivel seats, and light touch controls for easy operation.