You probably don’t know anyone that hasn’t suffered from a musculoskeletal injury or pain. Achy shoulders, sore backs and creaky knees seem to be part of life these days. Even children often suffer from these ailments, the more sedentary among them suffering from “text-neck” and the more athletically inclined from shin splints and, yes, from back and shoulder pain as well.
"The rate of musculoskeletal diseases far outstrips that of circulatory diseases and respiratory diseases" http://www.boneandjointburden.org
Half of all people over 18 and 3/4 people over 65 suffer from musculoskeletal pain
Apart from the obvious pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, financial cost and lost workdays caused by chronically or acutely painful body parts, musculoskeletal dysfunction carries an even greater risk than you might have realized. It unavoidably leads to physical inactivity, which in turn is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and decreased function of all major organs.
"250,000 Americans die prematurely from improper diet and lack of exercise each year."
This means that musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction should be taken very seriously, and that it needs to be demoted from its comfy position among “things that just happen with age”.
Don’t blame your age
The true cause of musculoskeletal degeneration is not Father Time, but the things we have, or haven’t, been doing with our time. As a matter of fact, elderly people who do exercise reap tremendous benefits not only in terms of increased bone density, muscle mass and functional ability, but also in memory, mood and cognition. Lifestyle factors such as being sedentary most of the day (yes, even if you exercise regularly), not sleeping long enough or deeply enough, nutritionally poor modern diets that don’t supply enough building blocks to keep the tissues supple and strong and “positionally monotonous” movement habits do not enable our bodies to keep renewing and rejuvenating themselves, and lead to the illusion that human bodies simply gradually wear out over time. Stress in all its various permutations plays a major role as well, as it alters hormone function, disrupts deep, healing sleep and in general signals to our DNA to stop repair and maintenance of the body, as there apparently is an emergency to be dealt with.
A multi-pronged approach that decreases the mismatch between our (mostly) stone-age-adapted DNA and the modern world, along with some targeted treatment of specific mechanical musculoskeletal problems such as skeletal mal-alignment, fascial adhesions and muscle weakness and -imbalance can significantly increase our ability to enjoy our bodies and all the wonderful things we can do with them. The subsequent increase in physical activity (assuming of course that you make that choice!) leads to increased bone and muscle mass, increased organ function and -reserve, increased levels of beneficial hormones, neurotransmitters and happy thoughts, and makes you smarter and keeps you smarter longer. In short, taking care of your musculoskeletal system increases both your lifespan and your health span, and no, there is no drug that can match that promise. So take care of them bones and forget Father Time!