A healthy musculoskeletal system is one that is free of disease, illness, and injuries. But when you hit the age of 60 and above, certain conditions will affect muscles, bones and joints, tendons and ligaments, and tissues that help maintain the body's structure and form.
Age can weaken the musculoskeletal system, resulting in associated disorders, such as osteoarthritis, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and other injuries that affect parts of the musculoskeletal system.
But you can do something to improve your musculoskeletal health at 60 or 70. There are preventative measures available and certain activities that you can do to slow down the progression of bone density loss and strengthen muscles.
How to Improve Musculoskeletal Health
Stay physically active
Did you know that the reason seniors are prone to muscle dysfunction is that of muscle atrophy from lack of exercise? The decrease in muscular strength, agility, and endurance are also a result of lack of mobility or prolonged inactivity. This underlines the importance of exercise which is effective in preventing and reversing many age-related changes to the musculoskeletal system.
Other physical activities that can strengthen bones, muscles, and joints include:
Muscle-strengthening activities to increase muscle strength and mass.
Balance and coordination exercises to improve balance and gait.
Weight-bearing exercises to maintain bone mass.
Stretching to help maintain flexibility of joints.
Apart from strength and flexibility exercises, cardiovascular activities should also be included.
Eat a balanced diet
A healthy plate in every meal can go a long way in preventing diseases of all kind and in maintaining the health all your body parts. A good amount of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, and heart-healthy fats should be part of your menu. Don't forget to aim for 5 servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
It is also important that you take in extra calcium and vitamin D, which are essential to help maintain bone health. 3 servings of vitamin-d fortified milk, yoghurt, cheese, and other calcium-rich foods will help you age without the bone loss.
You should also take dietary supplements that have the micronutrients essential to musculoskeletal health.
In a scoping review performed by the Italian Study Group on Healthy Aging by Nutraceuticals and Dietary Supplements (HANDS), results showed that there are 16 micronutrients that can help improve health of the musculoskeletal system – omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin B9, vitamin D, creatine, leucine, fluorides, beta-alanine, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K2. If you can’t get them from food, take dietary supplements that contain these micronutrients.
Reduce your risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders
Smoking is not only bad for your lungs but also for your bones because it reduces the blood supply to the bones, causing slower production of bone-forming cells. It also decreases the rate at which calcium is absorbed in your body, making your efforts of a calcium-rich diet ineffective.
As if that's not bad enough, smoking also affects the tissues in your muscular system, and rapidly breaks down hormones that build bones. So you might want to quit smoking if you want to give musculoskeletal health a chance.
Excess alcohol and soda consumption also have a similar effect where calcium absorption is concerned. Because lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, limiting consumption is the perfect solution. If possible, take alcohol out of your drink list, especially because it can lead to joint inflammation.
Undergo physical therapy for seniors
There are different therapies designed to help older people return to their normal lifestyles as much as possible and as quickly as possible. These include geriatric physical therapy, cardiopulmonary physical therapy, neurological physical therapy, and orthopaedic physical therapy. The last one is what you need to help treat musculoskeletal injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, and sprains and strains.
Orthopaedic physical therapy is also necessary for individuals who have undergone orthopaedic surgeries. It is one of the best ways to recover quickly, what with its goal to restore full function of bones, muscles, joints, and tendons and ligaments.
Physio Connect provides specialised musculoskeletal services for people of all ages. We follow a holistic and integrated approach to health care in order to provide an effective treatment plan and one that meets your specific musculoskeletal healthcare requirements. Seniors or otherwise, contact us today for a chance of an improved and healthy musculoskeletal system.
Undoubtedly if you’ve been treated for a muscular injury, you’ve been shown some form of exercise or stretch to do at home, daily. It seems so simple that many people subconsciously put it on their ‘low priority’ list and sheepishly confess their lack of compliance at their next appointment. After all, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference – does it?
Without a shadow of a doubt, stretches and exercises DO make a significant difference to your rate of recovery, your long-term outcome AND your chance of re-injury in the future. Here are the facts:
Overall, excessive immobilisation following injury can and does have a significant detrimental effect on your muscles and joints. However, you CAN minimise and reverse these effects by taking control of your recovery by ensuring to stretch and exercise effectively as guided by your practitioner. Because every injury is different and requires a tailored approach to exercise which can vary from person to person, we understand some confusion still exists in this field so we thought we’d answer a few common questions patients tend to have:
My injury hasn’t completely healed yet. Shouldn’t I wait quite a while before thinking about exercises?
While movement should be limited during the early acute inflammatory phase immediately after an injury has occurred, it’s a common misconception that the area should completely immobilised throughout the entire healing process. There's a distinct difference between activity that will cause further injury to an initially vulnerable area and movement that's an essential part of the healing process to give you the best outcomes. After the pain and swelling lessens, we start by introducing pain-free movement to which resistance is applied and increased over time as strength is regained. If you wait until your injury is completely resolved then it may take you twice as long to regain the strength and movement you had before the injury occurred.
I’ve been given exercises for muscles that aren’t directly in the area on my injury or pain. Can I skip those ones - they don’t look like they’re specifically for me?
Nope - unless you want to prolong your recovery time that is. Your body is a large network of connected muscles and tissues and deficiencies or changes to one muscle group can significantly impact the rest of the muscles through your body. The muscles you will be working will be helping you get back to your optimal function. You will never be shown an exercise for injury rehabilitation that isn’t clinically proven and backed by evidence to help you get the best results in the shortest time frame.
My injury is completely better now but I’ve been told to keep stretching. Will that actually do anything for me now that I’m better?
If you’ve been given exercises after your symptoms have resolved, it’ll be because your practitioner has identified an underlying problem that may have caused or contributed to your injury in the first place. For example, tight calf muscles can cause the foot to lift up early when you walk and so place greater pressure for a longer time on your plantar fascia. Repeated increased pressure over 10,000 steps per day, 7 days per week, can cause damage to the fascia - and the pain and irritation that goes with it. You can treat the plantar fascia and reduce the pain and irritation, but if you don’t stretch your calves, there’s a good chance it’ll happen again. Your post-recovery stretches will be given to you to reduce your chance of re-injury and help you function at your best, so it’s important to continue with them for as long as your practitioner has recommended.
At Physio Connect it’s not just about treating your current symptoms, but doing everything we can so it doesn’t happen again in the future and you can get on with doing the things you love. That’s why we have an integrated healthcare system that gives you expert input across multiple professions to give you the best clinical outcomes in one comprehensive rehabilitation plan.
If you’re suffering from an injury and want the best care, give us a call today on 0800 111 788 - and better yet we are FREE under ACC!
Page, P. (2012). Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 7, 109-119.
Physio Connect are committed to providing the best in innovative healthcare and are determined to break the barriers to accessible healthcare so you can get the exceptional care you deserve.
As such, we are proud to announce that we’re one of the select few providers nationwide who have secured a contract with ACC that is transforming and simplifying the way you receive orthotics & braces. Effective July 1st 2017, this contract means that not only will your consultation remain free under ACC, but additionally:
This means no more long waiting periods to find out if you have been approved by ACC and the delay that creates when beginning your time-critical treatment and rehabilitation so you can obtain the best and fastest outcomes.
There’s truly never been a better time to book in with one of our expert podiatrists and fast-track your road to recovery. Accessibility, cost and paperwork should not determine your quality of life and ability to reach your goals and we’re very excited to be a part of this change and offer this service to our patients.
PhysioConnect are leaders in the field of sports medicine and are committed to delivering expert, innovative and patient-centred services that are grounded in the latest clinical evidence and accessible to anyone in the region.
As always, you will receive a our multi-disciplinary approach to your recovery with the expert input from multiple health professions where it can optimise your outcomes and long-term health, all under ACC with no surcharge.
If you’d like more information or to make an appointment, give us a call on 0800 111 788.
If you’ve never heard of it before, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been taking the world by storm as research and evidence continues to stack up about its great effectiveness, superiority over alternatives such as cortisone, and most importantly, the benefits to your rehabilitation in the long term that we’ve never seen achieved with an injection therapy previously.
Simply put: PRP gets your specific soft tissue and tendon injuries better much faster, decreases your pain and produces great long-term results to keep you active and doing the things you love.
PRP therapy takes the bodies own biological plasma components derived from the blood that are essential in the healing process, creates a rich concentration of these components and injects it back into the damaged/degenerative tissue. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process and relieves pain.
Before PRP therapy became available, cortisone (corticosteroid injection) was heavily relied upon to help relieve pain from soft tissue injuries. While it may be a potent anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone has faced much criticism including:
-only producing temporary relief
-risk of potential harmful side effects
-inhibits the healing/reparative process
-increases the chance of re-injury due to inhibiting the tissue repair process
This means that while cortisone has been used as a quick-fix pain relief, like a bandaid, it does nothing to help the damaged structures repair and can even work against it by inhibiting the bodies natural ability to repair and regenerate in the injected area.
This is where PRP comes in. PRP is clinically proven to:
-reduce pain over the long term
-heal the damaged area by spurring cell growth and regeneration
-have very rare side effects due to using primarily the bodies natural resources
Studies have examined the favourable effect of PRP in various conditions including plantar fasciitis, patellar tendinopathy, epicondylitis, knee osteoarthritis and more with the same conclusion: it has a great capacity for enhancing tissue regeneration, it’s superior to cortisone and you should seriously consider doing it.
PhysioConnect is proud to be one of the only clinics in the North Island to offer PRP therapy as part of our mission to provide our patients with the best in leading and innovative treatments and technologies.
Our podiatrists are experts in lower limb ailments and have had international training in PRP therapy. Pain isn’t a normal part of life, you shouldn’t have to put up with it, and your treatments shouldn’t have nasty side effects that may hinder your long-term performance!
For more information of how PRP therapy can get you feeling better faster than ever, give our talented team a call on 0800 111 788 - we’d love to help you too!
Homayouni, K., Karimian, H., Golkar, H., & Jalalati, N. (2016). Treatment of Chronic Plantar Fasciitis with Ultrasound-Guided Injection of Platelets Rich Plasma. Jornal of Archives in Military Medicine. doi: 10.5812/jamm.42332
Kaux, J., & Crielaard, J. (2013). Platelet-rich plasma application in the management of chronic tendinopathies. Acta Orthopaedica Belgica, 79, 10-15.
Montanez-Heredia, E., Irizar, S., Huertas, P., Otero, E., del Valle, M., Prat, I., Diaz-Gallardi, M., Meran, M., Marchal, J., & Hernandez-Lamas, M. (2016). Intra-Articular Injections of Platelet-Rich Plasma versus Hyaluronic Acid in the Treatment of Osteoarthritic Knee Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial in the Context of the Spanish National Health Care System. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17, 1064. doi:10.3390/ijms17071064
Monto, R. (2014). Platelet-rich plasma efficacy versus corticosteroid injection treatment for chronic severe plantar fasciitis. Foot & Ankle International, 35(4), 313-318. doi:10.1177/1071100713519778
Ragab, E., & Othman, A. (2012). Platelets rich plasma for treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis. Archives or Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgery, 132(8), 1065-1070. doi: 10.1007/s00402-012-1505-8
Yadav, R., Kothari, S., & Borah, D. (2015). Comparison of Local Injection of Platelet Rich Plasma and Corticosteroids in the Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis of Humerus. Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, 9(7), RC05-RC07. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/14087.6213