Dealing with Chronic Muscle (Myofascial) Pain and Stiffness

Millions of older adults suffer from chronic muscle pain and stiffness on a daily basis. The causes of this functional limiting disability are many and range from previous trauma or injury from work or a sporting event, a lack of exercise due to work requiring a lot of sitting or stationary standing or just being a coach potato, repetitive strain from too much exercise or an exercise load that was too much/ too soon, poor nutrition, being overweight or a person’s inability to deal effectively with emotional stress.

Low back pain and stiffness is the most common area of complaint, affecting over 30 million North Americans yearly, but neck, shoulder, upper back, hips, upper and lower legs and feet are also frequent areas of chronic muscular disability. When a person starts to feel chronic muscle pain and stiffness often their first reaction is to become inactive. Their rationale is if it is uncomfortable and takes great effort to move then don’t move and they won’t suffer as much. The second most common response is to reach into the medicine cabinet for some Aspirin®, Tylenol® or Advil®. Unfortunately, both of these actions only treat the symptoms and not the cause.

By becoming more inactive, the soft tissues of the body, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia, lose their flexibility and increased tissue tension results. Medication can only chemically mask the pain and stiffness and has no restorative properties. Both inactivity and pain medication are appropriate responses to acute injury when rest and decreasing the inflammatory response is a priority but are contra-indicated when someone is suffering from a myofascial chronic pain syndrome. In these cases mobility exercises and myofascial release techniques are the treatments of choice in dealing with the anatomical and physiological problems rather than just the symptomology. Read more…

Quality of Life Metrics

There are 4 components and 11 factors that constitute quality of life for the Older Adult. On the table below grade yourself on each of the factors. Any score less than a 3 would indicate that an improvement in this area is warranted and that you should strategize on how to improve this area in your life.

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