Common Pains as You Age
Don't feel like you did at 20? Here's what those aches may mean.
In Your 30s continued...
The fix: Seek solutions.
The cause of many headaches is unknown, which can make treatment tricky. So
if one treatment hasn't worked, persist and try another.
"Work with someone you trust to get a diagnosis," Dubois says. "There are
treatments for each of these [headache] conditions," he says. "But don't expect
If you get migraines, Moon suggests identifying your migraine triggers.
"Many people are sensitive to lights, foods, wines, or cheese. "Sometimes not
eating regularly or caffeine withdrawal can be the trigger," Moon says.
Acupuncture and mind/body techniques, such as yoga, mindfulness stress
reduction and relaxation training, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can
be helpful for headaches, as well as for chronic pain of any kind.
Pain problem: Straining the Body
In your 30s, you may start paying -- in pain -- if you push yourself
physically the way you did when you were younger.
Overuse syndromes such as muscle pain and tendonitis -- an inflammation of
the tendons, which attach bone to muscle -- are also common during the 30s.
Lower back pain may start for some people at this age, along with problems with
the rotator cuff (shoulder) and tennis elbow in the late 30s and early 40s,
The bottom line: Your margin of error is shrinking. You're less likely to
get away with repetitive motions done with bad joint alignment.
The fix: Get your body in sync.
"You must learn the proper way to use your body that takes full advantage of
how the body is designed," Moon says.
That means being mindful of things like using your legs when you lift to
avoid putting pressure on your back and avoiding working with your arms above
your head, which puts too much pressure on your neck and shoulders.
Pay attention to how you use your body during hobbies, cooking, driving, and
other daily activities. By changing the tools you use, the way you sit at your
desk -- anything that can pull your body out of proper alignment -- you will
protect yourself from future injury and pain.
In Your 40s and 50s
Pain problem: Arthritis and Back Trouble
"This is [the age] when osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease
commonly begin to show themselves," Moon says.
Degenerative disc disease causes the disks -- which act as shock absorbers
for the spine and allow it to flex, bend, and twist -- to dry out and become
brittle. This can cause pain, limit range of motion, and irritate muscles or
tendons. Chronic back or neck pain, as well as pain in the hands, knees, and
hips may also begin during these years.
The two most likely groups of people to experience arthritis pain at this
age are the very fit who injure themselves in midlife by overdoing exercise,
and "those who do nothing to keep their bodies fit," Dubois says.