Something changed for me at 40 that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Finally the light bulb moment occurred and I realised I needed to change the way I related to my body. After not thinking much at all about it, I needed to give it a bit more respect and time to recover from life’s small (or large) knocks.
As we age our bodies grow and mature but this slows to its peak at between 25-30 years old and in hindsight the thing that I couldn’t put my finger on was a change in my physicality. At around 40 our bones start to lose mass quicker than we can build it which means that we are more susceptible to stress and fractures. Muscles lose mass too especially if you work in an office and don’t move much. Smaller weaker muscles are more likely to injure as the larger muscles take priority of the circulating blood. Cartilage and tendons become drier and are prone to wear and tear. Ligaments are less elastic and this sort of connective tissue becomes less flexible. All this points to the fact that things are slowly…. drying out.
So the most frequent injuries once you hit 40 are tennis elbow, stress fractures, lower back problem, sciatica, rotator cuff, hamstring tears, ACL, meniscus tears and knee problems, plantar fasciitis etc. The possibilities are endless! Working at a desk, overtraining, poor posture and age are what drive these injuries. I’ve had a few of them
And we see them at the Peachy Clinic all the time. Some are relatively easy to fix, others if they’ve been allowed to become chronic take more time, there are conditions that we can support while you’re going the medical route, or improve the quality of life for those living with multiple or complex conditions. You don’t need to live with it.
How does Chinese Medicine help? Acupuncture is seen to stimulate points close to nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. The stimulation increases blood flow, while at the same time triggering the activity of the body’s natural painkillers. TuiNa is a dynamic remedial massage ideal for musculo-skeletal injuries. It is also useful in reducing stress, encouraging relaxation, and deepening sleep. Chinese medicine has quite a toolbox and your practitioner may include fire cupping and guasha. These oriental therapies increase blood flow, move lymph and reduce pain, tightness and inflammation. Athletes, tennis players and Olympians are increasingly turning to these therapies to keep them injury free.
• The key is to remember that you need to pace or alter your exercise regime and recognise that the older you are, the more susceptible you are to injuries.
• Keep on top of small injuries before they escalate into larger ones by seeking remedial treatments. We often see someone who started with a bit of lower back pain, who later develops sciatica or knee problems because they’ve not addressed it early enough.
• Remember you’ll take longer to recover, so don’t go straight back to running 10k after an Achilles injury.
• Drink lots of water
• Get regular maintenance treatments, say every month or six weeks to iron out any issues and keep you well.
My go to is obviously acupuncture, TuiNa medical massage and cupping. I am regularly treated with Chinese medicine and I treat people with it. It’s a wonderfully diverse and effective holistic health system – particularly for musculo-skeletal issues.
I’m keen to get men thinking more about their health. Look at alternative ways of staying healthy and keeping injuries to a minimum. Whether you’re a regular gym goer or a marathon runner, work hunched over a computer, or would like to start a maintenance programme to stay well, then I’m always happy to chat about how acupuncture can help.