I get asked …. Joint Pain

Dear Diana     I’ve just hit 60 and feel so frustrated because my joints are stiff and painful. It makes it more difficult to move around like I did previously. Is this just old age creeping on…or is there something I can do to help myself?

Helen Martin   Somerset

Answer

Joint pain is a common problem with some stiffness or decreasing joint mobility occurring with age.  Past damage to joints from disease or injury can limit movement and cause pain, such damage is a common finding in arthritis conditions. The knee joint is a frequently damaged joint and particularly vulnerable, because it carries full body weight. Lack of appropriate exercise allows joints to stiffen causing aches and pains. Joints benefit from gentle exercise which encourages good blood supply to joint surfaces and helps muscles retains strength, to support and protect joints.  Sitting for many hours allows muscles to remain over contracted for too long.  Less pliable fibrotic tissue builds up and muscles become tight, stiff and sore. Sudden pain in a joint can result from fracture, such as a hip fracture, broken ankle, arm or wrist.  In older people joint pain that gets steadily worse could be a sign of osteoarthritis.

What treatments are beneficial?  NHS physiotherapists treat joint pain, commonly using mobilisation techniques. Privately both physiotherapists and chiropractors treat joints and muscular-skeletal problems but chiropractors traditionally use manipulation paying particular attention to the spine. Osteopaths look at whole body function moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints.