Pain is a significant concern for many people. Estimates from the International Association for the Study of Pain suggest that one in five adults across the globe suffer from pain.
Pain can affect anyone, even people who have not been in an accident or suffered an injury while playing a sport or performing another physical activity. For example, lower back pain, which can be caused by sitting at a desk for long stretches of time, is the most common type of chronic pain in the United States. Such pain may be unavoidable, but that does not mean it and other types of everyday aches and pains cannot be overcome.
- Begin a well-rounded exercise regimen.
Regular exercise that includes both strength training and cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow and helps build a strong core. A strong core supports the spine and reduces the pressure on it, making it less likely people who sit for long stretches at a time will end their days with lower back pain. Routine exercise also helps other areas of the body by keeping muscles loose and flexible. Before beginning a new exercise regimen, men and women, especially those with existing aches and pains, should consult their physicians about which exercises they should do and which they might want to avoid.
- Employ RICE.
RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, can help men and women overcome the aches and pains that result as the body ages and tendons begin to lose some of their elasticity. RICE might be most helpful for people who have been diagnosed with tendinitis. Athletes over 40 who engage in activities that require repetitive motion might need to take more days off between rounds of golf or other competitive and/or repetitive activities. If tendinitis flares up, take some time away, icing any sore areas, wrapping them in bandages, and elevating them while resting. Athletes rarely want to sit on the sidelines, but a few days off can go a long way toward alleviating the pain associated with tendinitis.
- Recognize your body may develop some limitations.
Age should not prevent you from being physically active, and numerous studies have touted the benefits of continuing to exercise into your golden years. However, as the body ages, muscle fibers become less dense, resulting in a loss of flexibility that increases the risk of injury and/or soreness. As men and women grow older, they shouldn’t abandon activities like gardening or strength training. But they may need to scale back on the intensity with which they perform such activities. Doing so can prevent the kinds of muscle strains associated with aging.
Pain affects more than one billion people across the globe. But some simple strategies can help people overcome pain and enjoy a rich quality of life.