Helping you keep mobile and staying active
Ageing does not necessarily mean that we will experience discomfort, pain or stiffness. If you do notice changes which are impacting your physical abilities, many people often find that the care and advice from an osteopath can help you manage these allowing you to enjoy the pleasures of life into your later years.
Many people also find it helpful to talk to an osteopath about ways of keeping active, preventing common problems such as falls, or managing conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatic pain and osteoporosis.
“In the same way that is it normal to start getting grey hair and wrinkles as we get older, it is normal for our muscles and joints and other physical attributes to change with age.”
Advice as you get older
Although aches and pains may be a common element of ageing, they don’t have to get in the way of any lifestyle. Here are some tips to keep you healthy and active.
- 150 minutes of exercise per week, in blocks of ten minutes or more (enough to make you warmer and breathe harder, while still being able to have a conversation) can help reduce the risk of circulation problems and falls. This might include activities such as dancing or brisk walking. It can also help to improve your mood and levels of confidence
- Make sure you eat a healthy, varied diet
- Doing some form of balance exercises twice a week (for example, Tai Chi, yoga or body balance) is also recommended to help reduce the risk of falling, particularly if you are over-65
- Try to also include exercises that strengthen your arms, legs and body
- The use of trainers or similar footwear can help absorb shocks and take the pressure off knees, hips and spine when walking for longer periods.
Osteopathic care is based on the individual needs of the patient and so varies depending on your age, lifestyle, fitness levels and diagnosis.
When you visit an osteopath, they will take the time to understand your symptoms, medical history and lifestyle which in turn will help them make an accurate diagnosis.
Your osteopath will undertake a physical examination which they will explain to you beforehand. This will often comprise of you undertaking some movements and for the osteopath to examine areas to feel for any tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the joints to identify problems.
In addition, they may often include screening for other health issues so as to provide a full picture of your current health, provide a basis for further advice or if required, referral to other healthcare professionals.
Osteopaths provide a package of care that include gentle hands-on techniques, focusing on releasing tension, stretching muscles and improving mobility, advice and exercises if appropriate.
After your initial examination, an osteopath will discuss treatment options available to you and together you will decide on an appropriate and suitable treatment plan, and the likely associated costs.
This plan may involve several visits and, very occasionally, further tests and/or referrals to another appropriate health care professional.
Although it is natural to worry about symptoms and the cause, an osteopath will always complete a routine examination that checks for more serious diagnoses and will advise and discuss any further action that might be required.
The UK National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidance for health services that recommend manual therapy, such as that provided by osteopaths, as part of a package of care for the management of conditions such as low back pain and sciatica, and osteoarthritis.