Keep on movin’ and your body won’t let you down
Joint pain and problems don’t discriminate. They attack men and women, according to orthopaedic surgeon Antony R. Boody M.D.
Ladies, be on your guard. The joints and bones you have are the only ones you get.
Joint problems like knee pain can begin as early as the teenage years, said Dr. Boody, who works at the Western Sierra Orthopaedic Center and will soon join Marshall Medical Center’s team. Women often suffer shoulder problems and carpal tunnel as well other injuries associated with repetition, he added.
As women age the joint and bone problems can get more serious.
Osteoporosis weakens bones, putting women at risk for fractures and breaks. Those at highest risk for osteoporosis include post-menopausal fair-skinned women who are petite in stature, Boody said, adding that women who experience a lot of stress are also high on that list.
“Bones basically harden in response to stress,” he explained.
Women can’t control many of the factors that predispose them to osteoporosis but, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, they do have control over such factors as:
- Drinking too much alcohol. Experts recommend no more than one drink a day for women.
- A diet low in dairy products or other sources of calcium and vitamin D
- Not getting enough exercise
Exercise is really a universal solution to joint problems and an important factor in maintaining bone health. Boody recommends impact exercises — step aerobics, jogging, etc. — to keep the musculoskeletal system strong.
“Exercise also tends to keep the brain a little sharper … and balance a little stronger,” he added.
Pair exercise with a nutritious diet high in calcium and vitamin D — recovering from a broken hip is a lot harder than remembering to take your supplements — and you’re in good shape. Speaking of shape, Boody said maintaining a healthy weight also goes a long way.
Boody encourages all his patients to talk with their doctors about all their health concerns. Don’t live with that ache or pain.
“If you have something going on that you don’t think is normal get it checked out,” Boody stressed.
“It is always easier to treat the problem earlier and, in many cases, the patients have more treatment options available,” he added. “If they wait maybe their only option is something surgical.”