When It Hurts to Get Old: Muscle Pain in Seniors

It is well known that we experience more aches and pains as we get older. Much of this is attributable to arthritis, a process of deterioration that affects the joints, but a great deal of the pain older individuals experience comes from aging muscles as well. At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we treat musculoskeletal pain regardless of its origin. If you are suffering muscular pain, whether diagnosed or of unknown origin, contact one of our five convenient offices to make an appointment 

Causes of Muscle Pain in Seniors

Although anyone of any age can sustain an accidental injury, such as a strained tendon or torn ligament, seniors are at greater risk of developing long-term or chronic muscle pain. Because people are taught to expect aches and pains as they age, too many seniors put up with muscle pain that can be successfully treated. 

If you are one of these individuals, give us a call and come in for an accurate diagnosis and targeted nonsurgical treatment so you can get back to your normal routine. You may be suffering from:

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) can be caused by any type of repetitive motion. Whether you are retired or still working, spending a great deal of time on one activity is liable to take its toll on the muscles you are giving a workout. This is particularly true if you have been repetitively stressing these muscles for decades. Studies show that a quarter of older adults are troubled by muscle conditions caused by:

  • Working at the computer
  • Knitting, sewing, doing artwork
  • Playing sports like golf or tennis
  • Reading in uncomfortable positions
  • Gardening 
  • Cleaning/reaching/lifting

Repetitive strain injuries can result in muscle knots, spasms, and/or stiffness or soreness in the affected areas, typically fingers, thumbs, wrists, forearms, elbows, and shoulders. The uncomfortable sensations of weakness, swelling, tingling, numbness or throbbing may be the price you’re paying for long years of repetitive stress. Nonetheless, we have many therapies to help alleviate your pain, even if it has become chronic.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disease that affects those over the age of 50, typically those averaging 70 years of age; it is twice as likely to affect women.

Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include:

  • Muscle pain and muscle stiffness, especially in the shoulders, upper arms, 

pelvis, and thighs

  • Stiffness, usually worse in the morning, sometimes interfering with the 

patient’s ability to rise from bed

  • Fatigue/depression/weight loss/fever

It is essential to have PMR diagnosed properly because left untreated it can result in muscle atrophy. 

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia causes chronic muscle pain throughout the body. It is believed that the condition amplifies pain signals as they are processed by the brain. Though sometimes fibromyalgia develops after a physical or emotional trauma, it often develops for no apparent reason. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Poor memory
  • Cognitive issues or brain fog
  • Depression and/or mood swings

Our physiatrists have several recommendations to alleviate the pain of fibromyalgia.

Medications

Several varieties of medications can cause muscle pain, including cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) and opioids. Statins often result in muscle pain and weakness in patients who take them, though it is possible that by switching statins the problem can be remedied. 

Ironically, opioids, too, although prescribed to treat severe pain can also be guilty of making pain worse once they are stopped. This does not only happen to addicted drug abusers but occurs in patients who have had to rely on opioids to control post-surgical pain or pain following a terrible injury. We use methods that can help to decrease your pain level as you wean yourself from opioids.

Contact Our Experienced Pain Management Experts Today

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors have the well-honed skills and sensitivity to treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve. We also have the most innovative diagnostic equipment available and offer a broad spectrum of treatment options, all non- or minimally-invasive. Contact us now so you can customize a pain-alleviation program that’s right for you.