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Common Pains as You Age: Feel Better

In Your 40s and 50s continued...

The Fix. Pay attention to your posture and how you lift things. "Ideally people should not lift more than 25% of their body weight without assistance," Langevin says. Look at your workplace arrangement. Is your chair the right height? Is your computer screen where it needs to be? Make adjustments if needed, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! Does your back ache in the morning? Consider buying a new mattress, or trying a new position for sleeping.

Over-the-counter medications like aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Try physical or chiropractic therapy, or exercise like Pilates or yoga. If you still don’t feel relief, talk with your doctor.

Muscle Strain and Tendinitis. The payback for pushing yourself too hard gets worse as you age. Repeated strain on your arm from things like cleaning and cooking can cause chronic shoulder pain, says Vik Ahluwalia, a physical therapist in the Detroit area. Repetitive fitness activities like weight lifting and running can also cause problems.

The Fix. Stretch, and pace yourself when you exercise. Don’t prolong your workout. Cut back on a sport if it's causing inflammation or injury from doing it too often, says Michael J. Cooney, a Rutherford, NJ, chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries.

Try the RICE method: the combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines can help reduce soreness and pain.

In Your 60s, 70s, and Beyond

Osteoarthritis. 12.4 million Americans 65 and older have this. It causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in your hips, knees, and lower back.

The Fix. Get moving, and keep your weight in check.

Being active is essential. "At this age, a stationary lifestyle is more risky than the risk of a physical injury," Cooney says. Choose an exercise program that includes weight training for muscles and bones and aerobic activity for heart health.

Slow, gentle stretching can improve flexibility and help with stiffness. Strength exercises lessen pain by easing the burden on joints.

Losing weight can also reduce strain on your joints and ease pain.

Over-the-counter medication may help with pain and inflammation. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe something to help.

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Reviewed on January 30, 2014

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