Pain Myth #4: It’s Because of Your Age

“Your aches and pains are a normal part of the aging process.” 

“The aches and pains let you know that you’re still alive.”

“What do you expect?  You’re just getting older.”

Have you heard any of these before!?  If so, don’t worry because they are all liesand hopefully you didn’t hear any of those things from a medical professional.

It’s a commonly held belief that pain is an inevitable part of aging and there is nothing you can do about it.  But just because you are older doesn’t mean you should be experiencing or expecting more pain.  The vast majority of people should be able to lead relatively pain-free lives as they get older.

Numerous scientific studies have failed to find a direct relationship between age and pain.  Other studies have found that aging has no effect on the prognosis of musculoskeletal pain.

Studies have also failed to find a direct relationship between arthritis and pain – meaning just because you have arthritis doesn’t mean you have to have pain.  I have treated patients who had mild arthritis with a lot of pain and I’ve treated patients with severe arthritis and only have mild pain or even none at all.

I have also had patients who are in their 70’s & 80’s who regularly play tennis, golf, bike, etc.  So, the whole age-related pain idea is nonsense.

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The age-related pain myth is, unfortunately, also held by some physicians.  This is a problem because it means they are biasing their advice/treatment on the age of the patient.  If you are seeing a medical professional who is attributing your pain to age...it's probably time to seek out someone else.  The next time someone tells you that your knee hurts because of your age...ask them why your other knee - that is the same age - doesn't hurt.  

When I evaluate patients, I don't use age as a factor for their pain.  I listen to the person's problem, learn their goals, and do a physical assessment that allows me to learn how they move.  I then put all the information together and, if I think the person and I would be a good fit for each other, formulate a plan to help them reach their goals.

Don't use age as an excuse for your pain and reason to not do the activities you once were able to do.  Find the right person to help you solve your problem and get you back to doing the things you love to do.

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Read Pain Myth #1: "Rest Will Fix Your Problem"

Read Pain Myth #2: "Just Stretch It"

Read Pain Myth #3: "A Cortisone Injection is the Answer To Your Problem"

Read Pain Myth #5: "You Need To Get an MRI"