Is it old age, overweight or just the weather?

Many musculoskeletal conditions are often attributed to either old age, being overweight or even sometime because of the weather.

Age

As many of you know, here at Paddington Physio, we all loathe to attribute conditions to age. However, it is more plausible to have problems due to wear & tear. For example, there are some degenerative tendinopathies that appear in teenagers & some degeneration that occurs that is not painful at all.

In the research there is an increasing incidence with increased age, of some conditions, for example, osteoporosis, arthritis, knee & hip osteoarthritis. But that does not mean that these conditions are “caused” by age.

The majority of these conditions are a result of the sedentary lifestyles that seems to be prevalent in the older population. If there are degenerative changes, this may not be having an influence on pain felt.

Weight

We regularly hear about the effect of weight on general health (e.g. heart & lungs are well proven). Research has shown a higher incidence of some musculoskeletal conditions in people who are overweight, for example, heel pain, knee osteoarthritis, urinary incontinence, & gout.

Interestingly the affliction regularly correlated with weight by patients themselves, low back pain, has not been shown by research to be a significant factor. This does not mean that in an individual, losing weight won’t assist in reduction of symptoms.

Weather

“It’s the weather,” is regularly cited by patients as a reason for aches & pains. A current theory is that a change in barometric pressure causes a change in the pressure inside the joint, so that aches and pains come just before rain or just before a cold front. There is little research to back this theory.

However, it is a regular comment so there may be some truth to the phenomenon.

Wry necks which may occur with tightening of muscles due to the cold also have a high incidence in the middle of summer. But is that the cold draft of the fan or air-conditioning? Muscle properties have been shown to change at different temperatures.

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