• SeniorNews

Healthy Aging - Body Maintenance

By Sport & Spine Physical Therapy

Have you ever heard the song by country singer Toby Keith, "I'm not as good as I once was?" Do you ever feel that way? It doesn't happen overnight. There are many gradual physical changes our bodies go through as we age. Some of those include decreasing muscle mass, strength, flexibility, and balance. If not addressed, some of those changes can result in pain, dysfunction, loss of mobility, or independence.

Starting as young as our 40s, we may start to see some degenerative changes in the spine, hips, shoulders, or knees. This degenerative cascade can be exacerbated by our lifestyle, how hard we are (or were) on our bodies or how active we are (or were), and previous injuries we may have had when we were younger, such as ACL or meniscus injuries.

Just like a car, parts in our body can unfortunately just wear out. Unfortunately, we can't just drop it off at the dealership, pick it up in a few days, and it's good for another 3000 miles. We require regular, routine maintenance.

Physical therapists are the experts when it comes to evaluating and treating physical changes associated with pain, loss of motion, strength, and balance. Some of the common age-related conditions and injuries seen in physical therapy can include: hip and knee arthritis, degenerative joint or disc disease in the neck and low back, sciatica and nerve-related pain, shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries, and fall risk related to decreasing balance.

To address s these issues, a physical therapist can evaluate range of motion, flexibility, strength, posture, gait or how you walk, balance, and other specific joint-related tests. Based on their findings, they can prescribe a corrective exercise program to address any imbalances they may have found. They may also address self-care including how to protect the joints, and modify activity accordingly.

Unlike our cars, we can't trade ourselves in for a newer model. But with continued maintenance and guidance from a physical therapist, you can stay active and on the road for miles to come. The song might say, "I'm not as good as I once was..." but with regular exercise and maintenance, it also says..."I'm as good once as I ever was." Don't let age keep you from doing the things you enjoy. See a physical therapist today!

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