Your musculoskeletal system consists of your bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues. It holds up your body and enables you to engage in physical activities and sports. As you age, however, your musculoskeletal system declines. By your 30s, joint aches start to creep in, muscles begin to shrink and bone density gradually decreases. If these changes are not managed well, you may feel pain and your mobility may become restricted over time. Let’s take a closer look at a few common age-related musculoskeletal conditions.
Common Age-Related Musculoskeletal Conditions
1. Bone density loss
When you reach your 30s, your bones start to lose density. Low bone density can lead to osteopenia, which – if the loss is severe – can progress into osteoporosis. Having weakened bones increase the risk of fractures and even disability. Menopausal women are at a higher risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis because their estrogen levels, which help maintain bone density, are lower. Osteoporosis treatments include drugs to strengthen bones and stop further loss. Menopausal women with osteoporosis may undergo hormone therapy.
2. Degenerative joints
Cartilage in your joints, which allows bones to glide easily over each other, breaks down over time. This may lead to osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disorder. Osteoarthritis develops in the weight-bearing joints in the hips, knees and spine, and also those in the fingers, neck and large toe. Osteoarthritic joints may be painful, stiff and swollen. Some people are more likely to get osteoarthritis due to heredity. Obesity, injury and overuse of joints also increase the risk. Treatments include prescription medication, exercise and physiotherapy. In some cases, joint replacement or other surgeries may be performed.
3. Muscle loss
The loss of muscle mass and muscle strength, known as sarcopenia, begins in your 30s. Muscle loss puts stress on your joints and slowly affects your ability to carry out everyday activities such as climbing stairs and lifting objects. If you are inactive, you may be more prone to sarcopenia. Other factors include hormonal changes and insufficient protein intake. The best treatment is exercise, which can help strengthen muscles and delay muscle loss. A healthy musculoskeletal system lets you enjoy a better quality of life well into your golden years. You can build a strong foundation for good musculoskeletal health through a proper diet, good lifestyle habits and regular exercise.
Three Treatments for Aches and Pain
1. Type 2 Collagen
Studies have shown that this oral supplement increases the amount of natural lubricating fluid in the joints, promotes cartilage growth and reduces joint inflammation. It is often prescribed to people suffering from arthritis.
2. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
PRP has an anti-inflammatory effect and promotes the regeneration of soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons. It is used to treat chronic conditions and sports injuries like tennis elbow and Achilles tendon inflammation.
3. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
LLLT uses low-power lasers of certain wavelengths and energy levels to treat musculoskeletal pain. It reduces inflammation, improves lymphatic flow in swellings from injuries and promotes tissue regeneration.