Sooner or later you reach the point in life when you don’t have to get injured to be injured. Things just hurt and you can’t even say when or how it happened. For no good reason, you’re injured.
Went to bed the other night feeling fine. Woke up with a sore neck, an injury suffered during the night. Now you might say I “slept on it wrong” and somehow hurt my neck, to which I have a simple question: How can a person place his neck in a position that causes pain and not know it?
If I contorted my neck during the day, it would hurt and I wouldn’t leave it in that position. So why is it I can apparently sleep so long in the wrong position without even knowing it and wake up with a sore neck?
Most of you are familiar with this injury. It’s the one that leaves you walking around for days like your head has been welded to your shoulders.
It looks ridiculous. A day ago I was bopping around like a normal person. Now my movements resemble an ancient weather vane creaking and groaning to accomplish the monumental task of turning. I change directions like a door.
I have a friend who swears the day she turned 40 she woke up with a sore back and it’s never been the same. This is undeniably a real phenomenon and is often joined with new aches and pains for every birthday – the sore hips, the beat up feet. As a man, it’s a real changeup: There is only one thing you hope continues to throb as you age, and it’s not your knees.
The best thing to do is protect yourself with information. So I am giving you the three main causes of injuries if you are over 50 and, more importantly, what you can do about it:
- Not Moving – It really is true: Use it or lose it. If you spend all day sitting at a desk or on a couch, or a day of desk followed by a night of couch, you’re setting yourself up to be injured. One solution is to never get off the couch, but you’re already a Hall of Famer in that category.
- Moving – What were you thinking? I know, I know, you decided you to get in shape, and not the one you’re in, which resembles the shape of Ohio. That requires physical exertion, which is fine, but you didn’t start easy, did you? You hopped in that hot rod body of yours and floored it, only this jalopy hasn’t been tuned up in oh, a few decades. It’s not a big deal. Just a little soreness about your feet, calves, hamstrings, back, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and rib cage.
Prescription: Return to the couch, put new batteries in the remote and try again in two weeks.
- Running Into Things – There’s a table in my house that I occasionally bang in to, sending a searing shot of pain into my shin. I know the table is there, I can easily avoid it, but it doesn’t matter. It is The Thing I Run In To. They exist in every home and you are immediately thinking of yours.
Maybe you have that special place you stub your toe, or that awkward ankle-twisting move you show off on the stairs every now and again. As we age, not only do we run into more things, we often run into the same thing. It’s kind of amazing, like we seek out the pain.
Note: This also can be a person. We all have that person(s) we don’t want to run in to, but somehow we do, again and again. This is usually the less painful of the things we run in to, but I can think of individuals who, if I were given the choice, I’d opt for another shot to the shin.
So what can be done about this? Don’t ask me, I can’t even turn my head.