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Common Pains as You Age: Feel Better

By Kara Mayer Robinson
WebMD Feature

Pain is not a normal part of aging. But many people notice some changes as they get older. More aches here, another cramp there. It doesn't have to be like that! There are things you can do to feel better.

In Your 30s

Headaches. Your 30s can be a hectic time of life. Stress at work and home is common and can lead to headaches.

Also, sitting at a computer all day with your head in one position can strain your neck and cause your head to hurt, says Paul B. Langevin, MD, an anesthesiologist at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Feel Better. Try deep breathing exercises. Treat yourself to a gentle massage or a long soak in a warm bath.

To ease head pain that comes from sitting at a computer, "Try stretching your neck muscles by turning your head to the right then to the left," says Allen Towfigh, MD, a neurologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "Then gently try to touch your ear to your shoulder on each side."

A warm compress or over-the-counter pain medicine may also bring relief.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is known to cause pain in your wrists and hands that comes from pressure on the nerves in your wrist.

Typing on keyboards, cell phones, tablets, and computer games can make you more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome. But, Langevin says, your genes and past injuries may also be a cause.

Feel Better. If you can, take a break from typing, texting, or making other motions over and over.

Make sure your workspace is correctly arranged. While typing at a keyboard:

  • Sit against the back of the chair with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Keep your elbows at your side and your wrists straight.
  • Plant your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.

Try using a wrist brace. Physical therapy and exercises that build up hand and arm muscles can also help. See a doctor if the pain doesn’t improve. Some people need surgery for this problem.

In Your 40s and 50s

Back Pain. Several things can bring on lower back pain as you age, including stress on the spine from bad posture, a poor workplace setup, and the wrong sleeping habits.

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