A Senior’s Plea: Just Give Me Time

Jul 8th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Part of growing up, or is that growing older, is finding that movement is less quick and agile.  Moving rapidly is just  more of an ordeal than it once was.  Having returned from Texas to Arizona after a two day road trip, each time I climbed out of the car seemed to take longer, each step more difficult, each ache more pronounced.

Osteoarthritis is a reality for many of us in our senior years. It robs agility and offers pain as its daily routine.  There are methods for managing it.  None will make it go away. Certain exercises alleviate stiffness and enable movement.  Some medications offer relief, but always be aware of impending side effects.   

This particular kind of arthritis strikes the joints.  The simple description of the process is this:  The cartilege between two parts of a joint cushions those two parts so that when they move, the bones do not rub against each other.  The use of our joints begins to add up as our years increase.  As with most materials, wear and tear creates damage.  When the cartilege is damaged, the cushioning effect is hindered.  Thus when bones move against each other in joints, and the cushion is going flat, pain results.

Most medical issues have a very complicated set of descriptors influencing the condition; osteo-arthritis is no exception.  The explanation given above is intended to simplify a rather complicated process so we can understand what’s going on.

Obviously, if medication is administered to alleviate pain, the symptom (pain) is all that is being addressed.  There are other possibilities, including medications and supplements, that actually address the core problem, which is the joint deterioration.  Many senior citizens today choose that route and take some form of glucosamine-chrondroitin that, while not ‘curing’ the problem, at least may keep the joint from deteriorating further.

Other remedies may also be helpful.  These may include hot or cold compresses, cremes and salves applied to the skin in the area of pain, stretching, exercise directed by a physical therapist or massage therapist, yoga and meditation, to name a few more.  Some choose surgery to remove calcium build-up, or replace joints or to add artificial cushion to affected joints. 

Those of us who have osteo-arthritis  know pain can range from mild to very severe.  We look at the options for treating the pain; we look at what can be done to address the core problem, and we make our choices.  One of those choices needs to be taking more time to move in order to avoid creating more mobility issues.

Thanks to Dr Sharon Shaw Elrod for her contributions to this article.



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