Do you feel older than your years? Do you worry that you are beginning to look like your mother? (I love my mum by the way). If your knees creak and your neck cracks and you feel like you’re a walking bowl of Rice Krispies, you should read on.
The good news? Even if you do creak, crackle and pop but have no other signs or symptoms, you probably have nothing much to worry about. Here is a short list of some of the signs of arthritis but if in doubt, give your doctor or chiropractor a shout!
It’s normal for your age – Five words you’ll never hear me say as a practitioner. What is normal anyway? If normal means that you ache and feel stiff in your forties, then bollocks to normal! Some aging over forty may be common for the average slouch potato who eats take-home meals, sits 14 hours a day and rarely exercises but that is NOT normal.
Unfortunately there is no escape from the effects of age related sarcopenia or muscle loss. People who are physically inactive lose up to 5% of their muscle mass per decade from about age 30. Yikes! Sarcopenia even occurs in active people, but not to the same degree.
My advice: Weight-bearing exercise is vital to healthy bones and strong muscles. Hate the gym? A power walk is more than adequate and even better if you strap a couple 2kg weights to your wrists or ankles.
2. Morning Stiffness
Does it take your body a little while to warm up in the morning? Do you feel a bit of a granny walking around for the first 20-30 minutes? If this is you, you may have early signs of degenerative discs. During the day, our sponge-like discs reduce in size as liquid is squeezed out with the compressive force of being upright. The tissues that support our spinal alignment (ligaments and tendons) become slack and we feel more flexible. When we sleep, our spinal discs reabsorb fluid and our holding tissues become taught and less flexible. This is more pronounced in a body whose discs already have wear and degeneration.
3. Flatback Posture
If you’ve spent years sitting behind a desk, driving, labouring, being physically active and are over the age of 35, you might have a condition we call ‘alordosis’ or flatback posture, where the pelvis tips backward (posterior tilt) and causes the spinal curves to flatten out.
My Advice: Don’t wait until the aches and pains are chronic. If you already recognize some of these signs and symptoms, spend some time now, learning some basic tips and tricks you need to succeed and get a wiggle on – Stay active when sitting and learn to fidget, wiggle and stir!
4. Limited Range Of Motion
Limited range of motion is a term meaning that a joint or body part cannot move through its normal range of motion. Loss of motion may occur if you damage or injure the bones within a joint. Limited range of motion may be a sign of arthritis and may happen if you have:
a broken bone
an infected/swollen joint
nerve or muscular disorders
Home Test: Turn your head as far as you can to the right and then as far as you can to the left. Is there an obvious difference? If you’re not sure, do this in front of a mirror. Next, side bend as far as you can right (allowing your fingers to track down the side of your leg) and then as far as you can to the left. Is there much of a difference? Finally, while sitting down, gently twist your body as far round as you can go to the right and then to the left. Do you have any obvious difference in your range of motion?
5. You Feel Ancient At 40
I can’t tell you the number of times a posture pupil of mine has said to me: ‘I feel old and I’m only …..’ I fond of asking my clients what THEY think is wrong. Seriously though, you may be the best judge of your own health. If you think you should be feeling better than you do, then you are probably right.
Related: Find out Your Biological Age
How accurate is your biological age?