As you age, you come to the realization that your body is starting to break down. Sore muscles and joint pain are among the most common complaints. What can you do about it, and why is it happening? There are many underlying causes for those aches and pains you are feeling. Discovering the root of the problem is the first step on the journey to healing.
More often than not, injuries and stresses placed on the body when you were young will come back to haunt you. If you played a sport or had some sort of injury or trauma when you were younger, there may have been untreated symptoms. These symptoms were easy to ignore when you were younger. But as you age, your body's ability to cope with these stresses declines.
There are many reasons you'll wake up sore in the morning. Here is a list of a few of the reasons you might be waking up sore.
Exercise– It's true that regular exercise is great for your overall health, but working your muscles tears them. As the muscles repair, they strengthen. This is typical, and the soreness usually wears off after a few days. Sometimes your soreness is caused by an injury or lack of stretching or warming up.
Bad habits- Sitting for too long can cause stress and strain on your joints just as much as exercising can. Sitting still along with poor posture and lack of use will cause your muscles and joints to become stiff and sore.
Injuries/Accidents- Injuries can often go untreated or be improperly diagnosed. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that goes untreated; it causes lasting damage to the muscles and nerves. A lack of treatment and proper care will lead to a life long battle with chronic pain.
Existing conditions– Arthritis and fibromyalgia are just two of the many diagnosable diseases that cause long-term damage to nerves and joints. These and many other illnesses are not curable and can lead to a lifetime of battling chronic aches and pains.
Excessive weight– Being overweight exacts a heavy toll on joints and muscles. The heavier you weigh, the harder your body will have to work. There is also a laundry list of unhealthy habits that go along with being overweight. Poor dietary choices, sedentary days and a lack of exercise exacerbate the issue further. Unused muscles, as a result of being overweight and not exercising, grow stiff and tough and are prone to injury.
Battling Your Aches and Pains
The best way to battle the aches and pains that creep up on you as you sleep is prevention. The vast majority of morning soreness and stiffness is largely because of disuse. If you don't regularly use and maintain your body's muscular systems, then you'll likely be waking up sore. How can you combat the stiffness and keep it at bay?
Warm them up- Regular exercise can help to substantially reduce your aches and pains. Muscles loose size and tone as you age. Without maintaining them, muscle fibers will also reduce in number and size. The tissue will slowly be replaced with tough fibrous tissues making it more difficult to move. Not only can exercise reduce the loss of muscle and help maintain softer muscle tissues, but it can help reduce bone loss. Physical activity is just as important later in life as it is when you are young.
Stretch it out- A regular routine of gentle stretches before bed and first thing in the morning can help to keep things loose. Yoga is a great way to get a little stretching in and keep your body limber while also sneaking in a little workout. If you have a desk job or are sedentary for long periods of time throughout the day, take little breaks. Stretching in your seat or near your desk at regular intervals can help prevent stiffness and poor posture. Getting up to get a drink of water or taking the stairs rather than the elevator are a great way to get your muscles warmed up.
Your chiropractor- Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce inflammation and joint stiffness. Regular chiropractic care can help to increase your joint health and give you a greater range of mobility as well as keeping the joints soft and pliable and less prone to injuries and strains. Athletes that get regular chiropractic attention are less likely to suffer major injuries to their joints and muscles because they are softer and more supple. Cold muscles are more likely to tear and become injured, and the same thing applies to your joints. The best way to ensure that you won't injure yourself is to warm them up.
Pain medications aren't a great solution
If you are suffering from an injury, your doctor has likely prescribed pain medications, muscle relaxants, or both. These medications can be helpful and even necessary at times, but what if your injuries could heal faster with fewer long-term side effects? While there are many great over-the-counter options that are relatively safe, opiates are addictive and have severe side effects associated with them. Another issue that arises with the use of pain medications is that sometimes it can mask symptoms of your injury. The lack of pain felt could lead to lasting damage and an improperly healed injury.
You may think to yourself that anti-inflammatory medications are harmless, especially if they are sold over the counter. This is generally true, but as with any medications, long term use can produce unwanted side effects. Current recommendations are to use NSAID's (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like ibuprofen for no more than 30 days. Dosing can range from 200 mg to 400 mg all the way up to 800 mg, so be sure to read all labels carefully to prevent overdosing issues. Many people who use anti-inflammatory and pain reducing medicines fail to address the causes of their pain. They also fail to understand the long-term consequences of some pain medications:
- Heart attack-An excessive use of these drugs can cause unsafe increases in blood pressure which can possibly lead to heart attacks.
- Heart burn and stomach pain– Excessive or extended NSAID's can block the production of chemicals that protect the stomach's lining, leading to digestive juices building up and damaging the intestines and esophagus. Eating food when taking NSAID's can help reduce this effect but the longer you use them the more harm the drugs can cause to your digestive system.
- Anemia- NSAIDs can cause internal bleeding which leads to anemia. The anti-inflammatory properties of NSAID's can act like a blood thinner as well which can lead to anemia.
Rather than taking anti-inflammatory there are safer healthier options. Keep up with a regular exercise routine. Visit your chiropractor for regular care. And make healthy lifestyle changes that keep your body in tip top shape.