Spine and Joint Issues Men Face as They Age

As men age, the biggest issue within the spine and or any joint, particularly a big movable joint like the hip, the knee, or the shoulder, is Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is essentially degeneration within a joint. Within the spine specifically you’ve got DDD, degenerative disc disease. Degeneration is the biggest issue that we’re going to get as we are aging. Once we start losing range of motion, we have postural changes due to the aging effect which increases the stress in the spine, and that increases the degeneration process.

We can make sure that we are taking care of our spinal health by seeing a chiropractor. Getting your spine adjusted stimulates the joint and fills the discs up with fluid. The discs act like shock-absorbers to the spine. An adjustment also stimulates all the movement receptors in the joint, which is critical for good posture. It also stimulates the physiological effect, the stimulation in your brain puts the movement in your spine, so it’s going to be aiding your physiology.

Men should supplement chiropractic adjustments with a good spinal health rehab program. Start by taking your spine through range of motion. If the neck goes forwards, backwards, side to side and rotates, let’s take the neck through those planes of motion specifically and repetitively throughout the week to make sure those joints are moving.

To supplement that, get in the gym with some physical therapy or some, we call it pre-hab or rehab, depending on if you are rehabbing back from an injury. The rehab should be based on, if we’re talking about the neck, engaging those neck flexors that keep your neck back, and then the muscles that sit between your shoulder blades. Keeping your shoulder blades back will engage those muscles.

We’re all imagining an older gentleman with his head shifted forwards and his shoulders round, in that stoop forward posture. In the low back make sure you engage in the core, because that creates stability in the hip and the lower back. Make sure the big muscles in the back of your leg, the glutes and the hamstrings are switched on. Then we’re not compensating, so then when we’re upright and we are moving, we should be doing, we’ve got the right muscles engaging to create stability.

As men age, maintaining the mobility of the spine is very important. Motion is lotion, and particularly as we age, we do not want to lose that. It is necessary to create stress within the joint. The old hack was, when you get old, get off your feet, go to water aerobics and chair yoga. You need to create stress through load. For example, using the leg press machine in the gym is creating stress. Because when you’re creating stress within the joint spine or movable joints, like the knee or hip for example, it creates osteoblastic activity. Osteoblastic activity is where the bone creates red blood cells and obviously that keeps the bone nice and healthy, stops it from being brittle and forming osteopenia, which is where the bone really thins out and gets quite brittle and weak as we age. Make sure you are doing some resistance training to create some stress in the bone, that’s going to keep your bones nice and healthy.

At our practice downtown in the middle of Chicago, we treat many male corporate athletes who are under a great deal of stress from being pinned to their desk 50 hours a week om a stressful work environment. With the corporate athlete, they’re dealing with those corporate lifestyle diseases, such as poor sleep cycles, low energy level, fatigue, irritability, no libido, and an inability to gain or lose weight. Essentially when we’re in a stress state, stress increases cortisol within the body. Cortisol blocks insulin, so we are less insulin receptive. This spikes our blood sugar, obviously blood sugar in the blood system’s no good, and it just rolls into all these lifestyle diseases. Then that feeds into those metabolic diseases that arise, type two diabetes, chronic heart disease, pulmonary dysfunction, etc.

Getting your spine adjusted by a chiropractor will take stress off the nervous system, which is going to likely feel good. If you came in with neck pain, you’re going to have less neck pain. But also, it’s going to allow you to physiologically function better. The spine or nervous system is designed to let you function as you should optimally without pain and or dysfunction. The less stress you have in your life means the less stress your nervous system is under. The less stress your nervous system is under, you’re going to feel better, you’re going to function better in every way, shape or form.

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