Perhaps one of my tallest soap boxes (which I have a ladder to get on top of) that bugs me the most is how we use the concept of age in this society in relation to health. As I’ve said to many of you, hearing the phrase “Well, I’m getting older” as a way to explain an ache or pain makes me want to slap people with a fish (preferably a rather large one). Aging does have some effect on our physiology (mostly in hormone production and balance, especially things like DHEA), but I would posit that when it comes to aches and pains, posture, and movement…your age itself has very little to do with it.

I know that your first thought at this notion may raise an eyebrow at the least, but stick with me. What causes all these aches and pains we feel as we get older if not the age itself? When it comes to your aches and pains the time accumulated is what is making aches and pains worse but it is NOT your age or aging processes specifically. It’s that you’ve had more time for postural deviations or the impacts of old injuries to snowball into tissue damage and cascading dysfunctions that do cause damage. I know some of you also now may be saying this seems like a rather hairs width matter of semantics, but that is only true if these issues aren’t preventable, then it’s a very legitimate inseparable correlation between aging and these kinds of pain and complaints. But the thing is, you can reach a ripe old age without ever understanding what all the fuss is about with aches and pains.

Most of you are familiar with NKT already, and if you’re reading this article then you may have a decent idea of how the body works with compensations. In short if you get injured your brain will not let a muscle that is injured contract as this will obviously stop the healing, or if a tissue/bone is damaged that a muscle would pull on, the muscle will similarly be inhibited. If posture has altered so that the ‘ideal muscle’ is now no longer mechanically advantageous, it may also be passed over in favor of something else. There are other reasons as well, but basically if the body feels unsafe or unstable (most especially around joints or injuries) it will change which muscles and tissues to use in a given situation or role.

For each muscle function in our body we almost always have at least 2-3 muscles that can get the job done, with decreasing degrees of efficiency and capability. Because we spent 2 million years as animal humans (or something very close to what we today call humans) hunting, foraging and running from predators on a daily basis for survival, an injury did not change the fact that the next day we would have to hunt, forage, and run from danger. This meant that we were, and are, fantastic at compensating by picking that next most ideal tool to keep functioning and thereby staying alive and procreating. This also meant that without the time to rest, no real medical intervention of any kind until very recently in our history, and very limited chance to heal well…it was expected these compensations would be permanent.

So we get to keep functioning, what’s the big deal? Less ideal muscles are less ideal for a reason. The joints they are attached to become less stable, kind of like a 4 leg stool now only having 3 legs. Also the angle of tension is different on the movements, forcing us to change posture, and thereby the angles of pressure on the joints, bones, and soft tissues. Also, with less ‘cables’ working, those that are still working need to be that much tighter. And one of the biggest elements that I will soon explain the implications of, is that when a joint feels very unstable, or if the body as a whole feels very unstable, the joints will start compressing and limiting range of motion.

Illu_synovial_joint A fully functional and healthy joint has some space between the actual bones, and the space is filled with lubricating fluids and pads to keep the joint from wearing itself down. When it has to compress to feel stable the bones will actually jam into each other, the result unsurprisingly being that the padding gets ground down over time. When there’s normal amount of wear the body can keep up with joint damage and heal it to keep it fairly pristine, acute injuries aside. With joint compression lasting months…years…decades? This is more than half of what causes arthritis , and what eventually leads to a need for joint replacements. The increased tension on the few muscles that are being allowed to work also changes the shape of the bones and causes bone spurs, which can be pretty damn painful and debilitating itself. If the bones start causing actual damage to each other because the pads are too far gone, the pain is obviously prohibitively immense to allow movement, adequate tissue repair, and means surgery is now the only viable option.

The thing is, if we catch these before the joint and tissue damage has gone too far we can use Neurokinetic Therapy® to reset the brains muscle and tissue priorities, getting those ideal muscles back on and working when they should. This makes for stable functional joints that do not need to compress, and keeps pressure from being shunted through more limited vertices (like the spine, causing great back pain instead of through the whole torso!) and resulting in pain, mobility limitations, and even more painful posture (like hunching that you can see take some people nearly to parallel).

Feeling the aches and pains of age? Get NKT assessed and get things back in order. Stop accepting pain as a normal part of aging. Pain is a signal telling you something is going wrong and asking you to fix it! Your age did not cause this, the time your body has spent using its various tools of motion and posture incorrectly has, but a lot of it can be fixed permanently!