Physiotherapy Q&A Should I accept aches and pains are part of old age?

I have started to develop aches and pains especially in my shoulders and knees after a long day at work. My wife says that I just have to accept that I am getting old but I am keen to find out if there is anything I can do to help myself. My job is desk based and I can often be in the office for long days. Is there anything you can suggest?

I would suggest that the problem here is primarily that the body is designed to function at its best with movement and our all-too-often patterns of prolonged sitting do not do us any favours. Our muscles and joints rely on regular circulation to provide the nutrients they require to carry out their day to day function, as well as to take away the waste products they produce. These waste products can cause pain if their levels build up and prolonged static postures encourage this.

To help yourself here there are some basic steps you can take. Performing gentle movement exercises little and often such as rolling the shoulders and bending and straightening the knee will help, but the most important thing to do is break up the periods of static postures by getting up and walking around. This takes the sustained pressure off the structures that are causing you pain as well as improving the circulation to these areas. This combined with regular aerobic exercise (exercise that gets your heart pumping) when you are not at work should help. As for your wife’s suggestion that you are just getting old, unfortunately older muscles do get stiffer more easily so it is more important that the older you get the more you follow this advice.

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