What can we do about degeneration?

When we are no longer young, we may develop aches and pains here and there - knee pain, back ache, neck soreness... You name it. We may be advised to take an X-Ray, and be told that we are having degenerative changes in our body. Then we will start to think, oh no, what can be done about degeneration? I am getting old, and I have to bear with these aches and pains!

That is not correct!

Pain is complicated. Degeneration alone does not cause pain. People can have horribly degenerated joints yet no pain at all. Pain comes from complicated interactions among the joints, muscles, nerves, general health, stress, sleep, environment, activities, etc... The list will keep going on. X-Ray only shows you the status of one single element - the bones.

Pain is not caused by degeneration. Do not lose hope because of "degeneration". You can still reduce, if not get rid of the pain. Examples of things to do for recovery:

- You can do stretching and strengthening exercises to optimize muscle health - healthy muscles help to offload stress on the degenerated joints.

- You can boost your recovery by ensuring 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. Sleeping time is where the most recovery takes place!

- Make sure you have ways to manage and reduce stress in life - because stress lowers our pain threshold!

- If you have other health issues like diabetes and thyroid problems, make sure they are under good control, as they will hinder the body's healing ability.

- Sometimes rest is necessary. You may need to refrain from your favorite sports for 2 months. You may need to adjust your daily schedule to space out the time you are on your feet. You may have to order your meals instead of doing the cooking for a while. The body may not be healing as fast as we remember it did in younger days, but the body is trying its best. Give your body some patience and you will be able to go back to what you love.

More complicated problems may need individualized plan to address each and every issue that is contributing to pain. That's what therapists do. But I want you to remember, do not lose hope because of the word "degeneration".