As adults get older, it can be easy to see how aging can affect functional movement.
Why do these changes happen? Can we do anything to halt or prevent these effects?
Below, we’ll look into the effects of age and what we can do to improve muscle activity and motor performance.
What Happens to the Body As it Ages?
Various studies indicate that adults showed a noticeable decline in muscle strength as they grew older. This process begins usually in your 30’s and becomes most pronounced at age 50 and older.
This decrease occurs due to natural muscle atrophy which can be faster or slower depending on your genetic history. Muscle fibers shrink, and the body is unable to create new muscle tissue quickly enough to compensate.
These same studies showed that elderly subjects lost lean mass as well as mineral bone density. This often results in developing bone spurs, rigid joints, cartilage loss, spinal cord curvature, and tough fibrous tissue in place of lost muscle mass. There are also natural changes to nervous system function which can affect your senses and movements.
How Do These Effects Affect Functional Movement?
Many of these effects compound into greater issues, including disease, which affects your ability to perform basic physical activity.
Lack of functional movement and stiff joints leads to muscle inflammation, pain, and stiffness which makes it more difficult, if not impossible to move your muscles in certain ways. Lack of circulation can lead to fatigue, reduced strength, and loss of endurance.
In addition to muscular issues, the risk for bone fractures increases with age. The loss of bone density can affect balance, posture, and reflexes. The result is that elderly individuals can struggle to perform basic functional movements, and worse yet, are at high risk for further injury.
How Can Aging People Maintain Functional Movement?
The positive side of this information is that there are proven ways to maintain healthy muscles and functional movement as you grow older.
The two most powerful ways to remain a healthy, older individual is through diet and exercise. Studies indicate that eating muscle building foods that are rich in protein when combined with regular strength training can slow, halt, or even reverse muscle loss. Making the active effort to work the muscles and utilize your full range of motion can allow you to maintain them over time.
Massage therapy can also prove tremendously beneficial for aging individuals and seniors. This is because many of the benefits of massage come with the same effects offered by regular activity.
Massage actively increases blood flow throughout the entire body and can break apart hardened tissues responsible for restraining functional movement. It also offers valuable stimulation to the nervous system which can reduce stress, tension, and encourage the production of feel-good hormones.
This muscle engagement will also promote balance and flexibility. Your massage therapist can manipulate your body in ways that relax areas of tension, and get the muscles accustomed to motions used in daily activities.
Massage Therapy for Aging Adults - In-Home Therapeutic Massage
It can be challenging to make the time for much needed massage therapy. It can be particularly difficult for seniors who face the mobility challenges we’ve discussed.
In-Home Therapeutic Massage wants to bring the benefits of massage therapy to you, wherever you are. Sore, stiff muscles and joints don’t have to be a guarantee as you get older. With regular therapy to promote functional movement. With our services, you can get relief from pain, and enjoy tried-and-true techniques that will leave you feeling energized and ready to move.
To get started on your journey to a healthier body, book an appointment online with us today! For additional questions about our services, contact us at 763-290-1563.
They can be measured from 0-10, measured by descriptions, barely noticeable to debilitating; be joint or structure-related, muscle, fascia or hormonal in origin.
We hope this article will be both entertaining and informative in understanding your body, promoting your health and physical wellbeing.
Pain is our body’s way of getting our attention. It’s a necessary sensation that helps us survive. At some time or another, we all have experienced some form of a headache and from our knowledge base attempted to stop it. Pain unchecked, may increase, and become chronic in nature. Debilitating pain costs our economy enormous sums of money paid out in compensation and lost productivity.
Let’s touch on head pain as it relates to two small usually overused and overlooked joints. Headaches of this type… Good luck if you take it to a strip mall spa!
The Temporomandibular Joints
These fragile joints are located on each side of the head just in front of the ear. They are used for things like eating, drinking, talking, laughing, yawning and sneezing too. Rarely do we consider them and what they do until we feel a deep, sudden, stabbing pain just in front of one or both ears. This pain can keep us from taking food, affect our ability to work and personal relationships too.
If not addressed, it can become chronic in nature. Chronic pain can cause hypertension, feelings of helplessness and despair, depression, mood swings, and loss of sleep to mention a few. Though small, these joints and respective tissues need to be taken care of.
Each temporomandibular joint is like a small hinge, covered with a joint capsule, stabilized internally with ligaments and containing shock-absorbing material. These joints are acted upon by external forces. For eating, these joints are moved by muscles that open, close, protract, retract and laterally move the jaw in relation to the skull.
To open the jaw, we have muscled primarily on the front, reaching down from the mandible to hyoid bone. At this point, we have muscles that reach up from specific points on the breast bone, collar bones, shoulder blades and thyroid cartilage that terminate on the hyoid bone. Collectively these muscles are needed for opening the jaw and for stabilizing the hyoid bone with swallowing.
Lastly, we have a large sheet of muscle that arises from the tissues about the collar bones and ends on the jaw. This muscle helps open the jaw too, and helps create the facial expression of sadness.
Equally important are the muscles that close the jaw. These muscles oppose those that open the mouth, but there must be a balance between the two groups. If there is muscular imbalance the stronger tissues will overpower the weaker. Subsequently, the overpowered tissues will become over-stretched, weakened, inhibited and develop myofascial trigger points and become hypersensitive.
The muscles that close, protract, retract and laterally move the mandible in reaction to the skull originate from the skull. These muscles work across the temporomandibular joint from a variety of angles. Balance is the key. Trauma to the head, mandible, neck and shoulders can impact these fragile hinge joints.
In the case of a real impact auto accident, you have an initial hyperextension of the neck and head. Then, like a loaded, compressed spring the neck with the head on top snaps like a whip into hyper-flexion. The muscles that move the neck and head are now affected as are the structures that limit joint integrity and movement. TMJ involvement is almost guaranteed at this time.
In the case of TMJ and this type of accident, we have to consider and treat the whole picture including the soft tissues responsible for mastication and deglutition. This skilled approach will include work inside of the mouth, the head and face, neck, shoulders, chest and upper back.
An auto accident will jostle the whole body and we need to focus on primary client complaints to maximize treatment times.
How Do You Protect the TMJs?
When driving, wear a boxer’s mouth guard and keep the mouth clenched tightly shut - NICE!
The body will naturally want to protect all traumatized tisues by laying down protective muscle shortening. This protective stabilization in itself is painful. Now we have excessive muscle tone in the muscles that move the TMJs. TMJs are now compressed and interjoint structures are set up for abnormal wear and tear. MORE PAIN!
Let’s address this excessive muscle tone and protective muscle shortening before it’s too late. Excessive muscle tone in one area will impact and refer pain to other areas of the body. Understanding body structure, muscles and what they do, myotomes and dermatomes knowledge is helpful too!
Each client deserves the best care, each case must be understood so specific techniques can be used to address hypertonic tissues, capsular and ligamentous involvement and scar tissue formation.
We want to complement the body’s healing process and keep pain and dysfunction from becoming chronic and possibly debilitating. Massage has its position in the health and wellness paradigm.
It cannot be stressed enough. If you are involved in an accident, experience a sudden onset of pain for no apparent reason, unexplained weakness, tingling, numbness, burning and throbbing pain/sensations, go to the ER and get examined. This is a good safety measure for all parties involved. From this point, a therapeutic baseline can be established.
Whatever your situation or injury, we are In-Home Therapeutic Massage are here to help you. Give us a call or schedule a visit, we love to hear from you!