Nearly all muscle and joint pain syndromes can be directly linked to AMS. First it is the muscle tissue that shortens. Then the ligaments and joint capsule retract. This results in increased joint compression which produces and accelerates arthritis. Additionally, local muscle inflammation can occur, as can bursitis. While there are over 100 types of arthritis, all are aggravated by AMS. Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS, which is not a form of arthritis), is directly linked to shortened musculature. Any FMS patients I have treated have obtained full or nearly complete resolution of pain symptoms after following this program. Instances of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), back, neck, shoulder, wrist, hip, knee and ankle pain can be either resolved or the pain functionally reduced through performance of this exercise program.
With medical costs rising at least 10% per year (California recently saw a 13% annual increase) the rising cost of health-care is increasing at a rate of around five times the rate of inflation. Generic braces that are mass-produced and not custom-fitted to the patient custom several hundreds of dollars, and are largely fabricated from plastic materials. Greed has resulted in fiscal directives over-riding ethical choices in the health care management arena. CEOs continue to making legendary record-setting salaries, while allied health professionals have seen their salaries frozen for the past five years or more. Health care has become a game of semantics, and if you aren't familiar with basic medical terminology and anatomy, you are at risk of being the victim of a snow-job. If an evil cabal of medical institutions agrees to fix wages of professional staff at $5/hour vs. $25/hour, they can honestly state that they offer "competitive" wages. This disrespectful treatment of professional staff promotes poor morale and decreased clinical standards. Understaffing results in medical negligence and litigation, detracting from the short term anticipated savings in slashed payroll.
Obviously the time has now come to take greater accountability for one's own health, in the manner of making wise preventative choices. This includes striving to attain ideal body weight, maintaining good nutrition and fluid balance, obtaining aerobic exercise for twenty minute bouts three days per week and following a sound stretching program to optimize walking speed and thereby cardiopulmonary status (most seniors walk slow because the leg muscles have shortened, which is also an increased risk for falls...but is also an entirely reversible condition!). Strength training with weights helps to prevent osteoporosis. Psychologically and emotionally, there is a much greater quality of life to be attained through the prudent selection of preventative health measures. In the earlier part of my career, I made house calls for many years. Quite frequently I was able to provide a modified independent or independent lifestyle to patients well into their 90s. Several of my patients were centenarians...and were walking in an independent manner at the completion of my care.
Calf pain encountered during prolonged walking is frequently related to AMS, being reversible.
This figure depicts the extensive blood supply to the calf musculature. A frequent complaint of seniors is the experience of calf pain during prolonged walking. In rare instances this may be related to intermittent claudication (inadequate circulation due to arteriosclerosis).
However, a much more prevalent cause of generalized calf pain during walking is that muscle tissue becomes painful due to a transient decrease in circulation related to increased pressure being exerted upon local muscular blood vessels by shortened calf musculature. People minimize walking. General deconditioning occurs, with further muscle shortening and loss of strength. There is an increased prevalence of falling down. Longevity is decreased.
Muscle shortening is reversible! This suffering is unnecessary, as age is not a limitation per se; as long as there is no notable joint limitation, there is absolutely no reason why an 80 year old wouldn't be able to attain normal muscle and joint flexibility. In fact, upon completing the program, I have frequently observed that my octogenarian patients have much better flexibility than my new 25 year old patients!
HAVING CORRECT POSTURE IS VITAL TO ACHIEVING AND MAINTAINING OPTIMAL HEALTH
|The figure on the left depicts correct postural alignment. Here the presence
of normal muscle strength and flexibility counteract the force of gravity
in the most efficient manner. From the side view, a plumb line attached
to the ceiling should pass through the opening of the ear canal, through
the bodies of the cervical and lumbar vertebrae, slightly posterior to
the center of the hip joint, slightly anterior to the center of the knee
joint, and just anterior to the ankle. Since the ideal posture is one consisting
of perfect vertical alignment of the body against the forces of gravity,
anything less is analogous to a poorly stacked pile of building blocks.
You can only build off-center for so long before the tower falls.
In the human body, ideally it is muscle tone that maintains the bony segments in correct vertical alignment. When certain muscles are preferentially used due to occupation or sport, and there is no adequate stretching program in place, there will be a distortion of posture. This results in much of the body's weight literally hanging off the muscle tissue, which then acts like a guide-wire, resulting in cramps, muscle fatigue and pain. Those are the local muscular effects.
When faulty posture is left uncorrected, within a few months semi-permanent changes begin to occur within the dense connective tissue known as fascia. This deeper fascia separates muscle groups and encases delicate blood vessels and nerves. Since delicate blood vessels and nerves (see lumbo-sacral nerve plexus, below) perforate most muscle tissue, disturbance of posture due to muscle shortening is likely to disrupt functioning of the nervous system and the internal organs, in addition to causing myofascial dysfunction.
Taking medication (including topically applied creams) to treat muscle and joint inflammation and pain is only treating the SYMPTOMS. It is only through exercise that the body can become biomechanically efficient, resolving the original CAUSE of the inflammation and pain!
figure depicts the lumbo-sacral nerve plexus.
A vast number of nerves exit the spinal cord and either lie in close approximation with the hip musculature, or in many instances, actually pierce the hip musculature. When excessive amounts of sitting, jogging or bicycling are performed and no corrective stretching is performed, shortenening of the hip musculature can create compression of the lumbar nerve plexus indirectly, by hyper-extending the lumbar spine and distorting vertebral alignment, or directly, through compression created by shortened muscle fibers. No medication can resolve shortened musculature, or the resultant pain symptoms. Only a personal commitment to performing a daily stretching program can promote optimal wellness.
site last updated on February 11, 2010 by Paul J. Fransen, P.T.