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BOOMERITIS, OR WHY DOES IT HURT WHEN I DO THIS?

The Longer You Let Yourself Go, The Longer The Trail Back.
When you're kid says he'd like to hike with you, bring your best when it starts by climbing over a log jam on the Oneonta Gorge.

When you’re kid says he’d like to hike with you, bring your best when it starts by climbing over a log jam on the Oneonta Gorge.

One doctor joke goes like this: “It hurts when I raise my arm.”

Doc says, “Don’t raise your arm.”

It’s as funny the first time as it is the last, if you don’t have arm pain.

Most of us have pain from one thing or another. Sports, accidents, neglect, they all play a part.

If you’ve got chronic pain, then you know the drill. You don’t get a pass. You can’t beg off. Whatever you’ve got that hurts isn’t going to ruin your day.

Yet.

Prevention.com lists five common injuries for those of us living baby boomer years. Since boomerpdx originates in Portland, Oregon, and everyone knows how vital Portlanders of all ages are, we must have more painful areas since we’re so active.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ask anyone who’s had it and they’ll tell you it’s miserable. You can get a surgical fix, or you can avoid aggravating the wrist area.

People who type a lot complain about numbness and tingling in their hands. When you see someone in wrist braces, it’s most likely due to carpal tunnel.

If you feel your wrists are letting you down, pay attention to the angle you put them in during the day. The wrist is better at some things than others. Keeping them bent over a keyboard, or bent while carrying cement blocks, puts too much stress on a joint that’s stronger straight.

  • Back Pain

Nothing knocks you down faster than back pain. When it’s severe enough you can’t walk, stand, or pretend you’re fine. Powering through back pain is risking a fall, or an injury to an overloaded support structure.

If you have unexplained back pain, look down the next time you stand up. Can you see your toes? I’m convinced back pain comes from weak abdominal muscles in non-injury cases.

Strengthen your abs to strengthen your back. As one of my research assistants said, “A flat stomach at any age is impressive.” It’s more impressive on boomers. If you doubt it, take another look around.

  • Shoulder Pain

Like carpal tunnel, shoulder pain has a popular cause in the rotator cuff. It seems tearing on of these is as simple as raising your arm at the wrong time, or pulling on something to heavy to move.

What moves instead is body tissue that allows your skeleton to function. Shred the cuff and you’ll be brushing your teeth with your other arm.

With so many movements depending on good shoulders, be cautious. Ruin your shoulder and you’ll be able to answer the question of what’s worse, a bad shoulder or a bad knee. Shoulder patients know the answer. Speaking of wheels…

  • Plantar Fasciitis

Your feet are your main connection to the earth. It’s where the rubber hits the road, and we don’t get new tires when something wears out.

My medical consultant, Dr. Elaine Gillaspie, ND, supports the idea of ‘bean feet’ where you curve your bare feet inward like a kidney bean, while spreading your toes. This exercise strengthens the transverse, medial, and lateral arches.

Practice bean feet resting and walking. Let your feet take on the appearance of a cat ready to pounce in any direction and your feet may take a turn for the better.

Too often we walk on flat surfaces in flat shoes. And we end up with flat feet. Arch up and get stronger.

  • Swollen Knee

Former athletes know all about a puffy knee. Ask anyone with a limp and they’ll tell you about the time they planted that leg and pushed off only to collapse.

They’ll tell you about the time they were whip-blocked on the line and took a flying heel to their knee.

Or they’ll say there was no event, no injury, just wear and tear.

Today boomers have a variety of scars around their knees from getting it scoped to getting it replaced. Some have a huge zipper from surgery in the sixties and seventies where they opened the joint up. Today’s technology is an outstanding example of modern medicine. Surgery in the morning, rehab in the afternoon.

These five conditions affect the activities of daily living. The advice on prevention.com says to back off the motions and exercises you did when you first felt discomfort. It goes back to ‘it hurts when I do this…so I’ll stop doing it.’

While common injuries have common remedies, other injuries aren’t so easy to deal with. The recent World Cup for soccer brought an injury seldom heard of in sports.

Active boomers can expect a balance of pain and reward for their efforts. We hope the rewards far outreach the pain, but for one injury it’s doubtful.

  • Torn Anus

In a prime example of taking one for the team, Argentina’s Javier Mascherano executed a sliding tackle against The Netherlands. His spectacular play also affected his nether land.

As you probably know, a torn anus is most often a result of constipation or child birth. Add soccer to the list.

From medicinenet.com:

Anal fissures occur in the specialized tissue that lines the anus and anal canal, called anoderm. At a line just inside the anus–referred to as the anal verge or intersphincteric groove–the skin (dermis) of the inner buttocks changes to anoderm. Unlike skin, anoderm has no hairs, sweat glands, or sebaceous (oil) glands and contains a larger number of somatic sensory nerves that sense light touch and pain. (The abundance of nerves explains why anal fissures are so painful.)

In the not so recent past any of these injuries would be enough to sit you down. Add up wrist pain, shoulder pain, back pain, foot pain, and knee pain and you end up with enough reasons to stay down.

But boomers are different. They still march to the beat of that different drummer, marching being the key word. Add a torn anus to the mix and sitting down is even less an option.

With that in mind, how do you deal with your injuries? Please add your insights in a comment.

 

 

 

About David Gillaspie
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