Turning Back the Clock: BEATING “BOOMERITIS®”

Written by Dr. Nicholas DiNubile. Posted in Family Health.

Beating BoomeritisMusculoskeletal (bone and joint) problems are on the rise in the United States. They are now one of the top reasons that people see a doctor in this country. In fact, in recent years, they have become the #1 reason for physician visits! In my orthopedic and sports medicine practice, I noticed a tremendous increase in these types of symptoms, ailments and injuries, especially in active individuals. I was even being approached by people in the gym, asking questions about their bone and joint issues. Most, but not all, were like me, baby boomers who were born between the years 1946 and 1964.
"Boomeritis®" is the term I coined, and use, for the fairly predictable and inevitable wear, tear and more importantly the vulnerabilities most of us will have or develop as we age. These types of ailments occur for a variety of reasons ranging from old injuries and overuse, to the aging process or genetics. They can effect virtually every body part, especially joints, tendons and bones. Boomeritis is a relatively new phenomenon because of the simple fact that people are living much longer than 100 years ago, and because baby boomers are the first generation to try to stay fairly active on an aging frame, even when their body is telling them otherwise. While our life expectancy has increased, our frames unfortunately don't come with a similar extended warranty without proper care and conditioning.

Bone and joint problems include tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis, and especially, "FixMeItis" which I see almost every day. "FixMeItis" is the mindset of individuals who don't want to deal with the changes their body is experiencing and want things fixed, now. It's part of a never ending quest to try to "turn back the clock." Unfortunately, as most of us know, that's not how it works. But there are things you can start doing now to support your bone and joint health as you age.

Exercise is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. A proper exercise program should be well balanced and include three key areas: cardiovascular or aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility. Consult your doctor or a certified trainer to design a workout program based on your needs, interests, fitness level and past or present injuries or other conditions. Individuals with certain orthopedic and medical problems usually need to have their program modified and closely monitored. In fact, in my experience, 80% of adults will need some sort of modification or customization of their exercise routine to avoid difficulties related to musculoskeletal issues.

Year-round conditioning is important. The human body was built to move and does not do well when placed on the shelf for the winter or an extended period of time. Along the same lines, if you're a "weekend warrior," participating in pick-up softball, basketball, tennis or even golf on the weekend, make sure to incorporate some level of exercise during the week too. Preventive exercises, including proper warm-up and stretching can go a long way to avoid issues.

You are what you eat. Proper nutrition keeps you healthy, adds years to your life and if you are an athlete, enhances your performance. A healthy weight also puts less overall pressure on your joints.
I am also a believer in the use of certain high quality vitamins and supplements to enhance health. Most of us do not regularly get recommended amounts of all key nutrients in our daily diets. And needs will vary from one individual to another depending on dietary habits, as well as medical or orthopedic concerns. For example, joint health is a growing concern, especially with the aging population and active baby boomers.

Recent studies build upon a growing body of evidence supporting the efficacy of a combination of chondroitin/glucosamine to support joint health and wellness. Not all supplements are created equally, however. Look for third party certifications on the label such as the National Safety Foundation and keep in mind supplements take some time to work. I personally take, and recommend to my patients, CosaminDS and CosaminASU. Most importantly, seek help from your doctor or contact an orthopedic physician if you start to feel something going wrong. Prevention is the best medicine!

DrNickDr. Nicholas DiNubile is an Orthopaedic Surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine. He is in private practice in Havertown, Pa and is a Clinical Associate in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. DiNubile has been chosen in "Best Doctors in America" as well as "Guide to America's Top Surgeons." He is a bestselling author, of the FrameWork series of health and wellness books (Rodale) and is Executive Producer and host of the award winning national PBS television special, Your Body's FrameWork Learn more at:www.DrNick.com and @DrNickUSA on Twitter
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