Osteopathy and getting older
In the same way that we get grey hair and wrinkles as we get older, it is normal for our muscles, bones and joints to change too. This process is known as ageing. Even though the body may feel like it’s starting to slow down, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to put up with more aches and pains. The process of ‘ageing’ actually starts a lot sooner than you think. Did you know that your cognitive function in your brain (your memory, ability to learn new information, speech and understanding of written material) actually starts to decline from your mid-twenties? Other effects of ageing are experienced at various times of life. For example, hair starts going grey for most people around the age of 50, the average age of menopause is 51 in women and nearly 50% of people older than 75 have some kind of hearing loss. One thing that is very typical of ageing is something called sarcopenia – this typically affects people over the age of 50 and involves the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. Ageing is a natural process and cannot be stopped but there are ways to manage the effects of ageing to keep you strong, fit and independent.
How can Osteopathy help?
Osteopaths are highly trained healthcare professionals who work with the musculoskeletal system in order to keep your body as balanced and pain-free as possible. Because we tend to lose muscle mass and strength as we age, this can cause a level of pain and stiffness in some people. Osteopathic treatment and advice along with your GP care can help. Your treatment will be based on your individual needs and look at factors such as your age, current fitness level and lifestyle. Your treatment will involve a range of gentle hands on techniques that focus on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints. This is often combined with helpful advice designed to help you manage your pain and keep you active.
Advice for as we get older:
150 minutes of exercise per week – if it’s easier, this can be broken down into blocks of ten minutes to make this more manageable. The exercise should be intense enough to make you feel warmer and breathe harder but not too hard that you can’t have a conversation whilst exercising. Exercise can help reduce the risk of circulation problems and falls as well as improve your mood and confidence levels.
Eat a healthy and varied diet – keeping your diet varied means you are more likely to be taking in the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need to keep your bones, joints and muscles healthy.
Wear the right footwear – wearing trainers or other supportive footwear can help to absorb shocks and take pressure off your knees and hips.
Rest – even though it’s important to keep active, it is also just as important to take little breaks through the day to recover your energy.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of ageing, please get in touch. You shouldn’t have to put up with pain or stiffness just because you’re getting older. I will assess you as an individual and together we will come up with a treatment plan to keep you healthier and allow you to enjoy your life into your older years.