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Getting older - stiffening up. Is it inevitable?

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  • Getting older - stiffening up. Is it inevitable?

    How do you prevent age-related stiffness?

    I'm 40. And for most of my life I have been flexible. I've always walked a lot, and swam. I did a lot of gymnastics and yoga, and am always sitting in contorted postures. I like double crossing my legs, or hugging my knees. BUT...

    I'm noticing more these days that I wake up stiff and spend most of my days stiff.
    • My shoulder is stiff from an old horse riding accident (I don't have full range of motion anymore).
    • My hips are stiff (particularly groin - noticeable when horse riding - which I only do sporadically now on one side) and both hip flexors.
    • My neck is stiff, particularly on the side of the shoulder and it hurts to stretch it to the opposite side. Agh.

    This all started in my 30s, when I noticed that I was getting a lot of injuries at the gym. I was told back then, that I have one leg longer than the other by 1.5 cms, but no amount of physio or massage, or even orthotics in my shoes, helped. The injuries piled up - my shoulder - my hips and knee...

    I watched my mother go down the same route! She's as stiff as a board now, and can hardly walk, and always complaining about pains in her shoulders, hips, knees, neck... I never gave her the benefit of the doubt, and tried to get her up and walking, thinking that it would alleviate her pain. Not realizing, that she was already in pain, and walking was actually really awful for her. She's in a wheelchair now. I don't want to go the same way... but I'm already on the same path!

    I try to force myself to stretch, and move. But, the problem is, if I'm not super careful when it comes to exercise I get injured. If I do too many downward dogs, my shoulder or wrist twinges. If I life weights wrong, my knee twinges... It's like my entire skeleton or muscle structure is out of balance.

    I'm trying to do yoga or at least some daily stretches, but it's painful and doesn't seem to alleviate the problem.

    Over the years I've seen various 'healers' from osteopaths to chiropractors, stretch therapists and physio therapists. I've always had massages, I've rolled on foam rollers and lacrosse balls. there's nothing I haven't tried. Whenever I go for a massage my therapist tells me HOW TENSE my muscles are! She usually kneads me and pummels me with Thai massage techniques as well as oil massage. Nothing helps, week after week I go back, and I'm NEVER any less tense.

    I've been wheat free and Primal for almost 2 years. And while this has helped me with my digestive issues and mind fog, it has done nothing for this muscle stiffness.

    What can I do?
    SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
    “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha

  • #2
    Vitamin D, krill oil, bone broth.

    50 and feeling really good.
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    • #3
      You may want to consider a trial of low lectin primal - no nightshades, eggs, dairy, nuts, or coffee for a month to see if it helps. If you don't want to do that, at least consider a strict one month trial of no nightshades. It is difficult, but makes a huge difference in my mobility.

      Also, I second the vitamin D3 suggestion. Get tested and make sure you are in the upper half of normal. I can pretty much guess my vitamin D3 level by how tight my tendons are.

      For muscle tightness, magnesium may be worth looking into.
      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )


      • #4
        Second all of the above, especially avoiding nightshades.
        Crohn's, doing SCD


        • #5
          From the age of 35 on, most of us, without intervention (exercise, conscious stretching, etc.) lose about 1% per year of our muscle mass and flexibility each year. But it sounds as if yours has an added genetic component.

          I like fluid stretches better than static ones, though I do both. Reaching for the ceiling, gentle toe touches with relaxed knees, waist twists, and neck and shoulder rolls. Also, I don't know what to call this, but I stand with my toes on a step (supporting myself with a railing) and stretch my calves by letting my heels go downward as far as they can, then do the opposing movement so that I'm standing on my toes.

          The reason you should not stretch to pain is that when your muscles feel pain, they tend to contract. This is exactly the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish when you stretch. So when you stretch to pain, you send two opposing messages to your body which can sometimes exacerbate the problem.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


          • #6
            Think it the other it because of the genes...i am just saying but my cousin's father had diabetes and now he has passed that on to him and they are both suffering from this ailment there any one else in your family suffering with the same problem?


            • #7
              I look at body work therapy.... chiropractic, massage, and osteopathy as ways to mitigate the structural "diseases of civilization". And when you take that view you can understand why there is never an end to it and you need continuing therapy. If the cause is too much sitting, not standing correctly, not doing enough grok squats, innactivity, too much driving... ect. and you continue to do these things (as many must to keep up in this society) then you need to continue to mitigate the damage for life.

              For me the answers are to change my lifestyle (sitting habits, how I exercise, what I do daily) to be as biomechanically correct as possible. After that I get adjusted (chiropractic) 2x/month. Of course eating primal also reduces the inflammation and likelihood of autoimmune joint destruction.

              I'm 35 and have excellent ROM and flexibility despite some somewhat severe injuries. I know that seems sort of young to make that boast but consider I've had the following: herniated disc (age 14), 4x seperated shoulders, ruptured pec tendon, and all the normal ankle and knee sprains and you can see why I'm rather proud . I've always gotten good care for my joint and muscle injuries though (my chiro from age of 15 on). Again this is just to take the long view. Get joint and muscle injuries corrected quickly. These helps to assure that acute injury has less of a chance to cause chronic problems.

              Oh and don't underestimate a good strength program. I like a combination of the "Body by Science" workout and the concepts that are presented by Bill DeSimone in "Congruent Exercise" a book that goes to great lengths to make strength training joint friendly so it can be done for life.
              Last edited by Neckhammer; 06-25-2013, 11:54 AM.


              • #8
                I am 50 and my flexibility is excellent and much better than when I was 40! I incorporate weighted stretching and hanging stretching in the gym and also special exercises for the posterior chain and shoulders. Gelatin, vitamin D, fatty fish in especial, seem to be important here...
                "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                - Schopenhauer


                • #9
                  I'm in my late 50s. When I was in my late 30s I was waking up stiff and with sore feet. I recall having a conversation with an older woman with the same issue. I just assumed it was a normal part of growing older. I no longer have that issue. I of course presume it was a dietary problem.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                    Second all of the above, especially avoiding nightshades.
                    I second knifegill's seconding.
                    The Champagne of Beards


                    • #11
                      I've also avoided nightshades since my 20's, I discovered they were the cause of my terrible knee inflammations. Within 7 days the problem was gone and I became, for a time, a triathlete. In case you are unsure, nightshades are tomatoes, peppers, chillies, green potatoes, tobacco and aubergine, (as well as, of course, deadly nightshade)
                      Healthy is the new wealthy.



                      • #12
                        Oh my! Giving up tomatoes, chilies and potatoes would be harder than bread or pizza, I reckon! Especially as i grow them all in my garden.

                        I already take fermented cod liver oil and butter oil, and occasionally magnesium (though I do drink mineral water every day too).

                        I'm willing to try anything though. So am listening to your advice. What's the relationship between nightshades and muscles or 'stiffening up'?

                        Is there any literature or books with more info you can advise me to read?

                        Last edited by thaijinx; 06-26-2013, 04:12 AM.
                        SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
                        “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha


                        • #13
                          Wow that's really big text.
                          Sorry all. I'm on my phone and don't seem to be able to reduce it.

                          Last edited by thaijinx; 06-26-2013, 04:14 AM.
                          SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
                          “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by thaijinx View Post
                            Wow that's really big text.
                            Sorry all. I'm on my phone and don't seem to be able to reduce it.

                            I think it's just how it appears on your phone, because the text is quite small from my computer!
                            Depression Lies


                            • #15
                              Well on the subject of nightshades, they all originate from South America (i think), the theory is that they cause low level inflammation in the joints that builds up over time, only in some people, but often in Europeans at any rate. My source of advice on nightshades initially came from a book written by Gillian McKeith, in the book 'you are what you eat' she says that people who suffer form inflamed joints should try avoiding nightshades, and as it turns out, she was bang on the money.

                              There is some seemingly reliable information on them here:

                              Last edited by Owen; 06-27-2013, 05:36 PM.
                              Healthy is the new wealthy.