FROM OUR EXPERTS
Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to visit with my friend, Leslie, and her husband. Her husband noted that Leslie, who is in her late 40s and who regularly instructs exercise classes, no longer qualifies as a ninja because her joints crack when she moves, thus alerting those around to her presence.
I can empathize. I have always had joints that would periodically crack, but now it seems that everything creaks regularly, especially when I get up in the morning. I also find that I feel a lot stiffer (and more clumsy, to boot). It turns out that the menopausal process can be behind this stiffness. “Muscles and joints can become sore, and coordination is affected; an increase in clumsy behavior may be noted,” wrote Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge in “The No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause.”
In the companion guide to her “Menopause in an Hour” video series, Dr. Tara Allmen noted that aches and pains are common. She also notes that after ...
Last week, I had my monthly massage with Ruth. I love going to see her because (a) she’s become a friend; (b) massages (for the most part) feel really good; and (c) I get a chance to analyze what’s happening with my body when she hits a pressure point or finds a muscle that’s really tight. This month, I asked Ruth to pay attention to my legs. “My hamstring muscles have been really tight as of late,” I told her during our pre-massage discussion. “They haven’t been cramping, but they feel like they are thinking about it.”
So why would they have been tightening up? Ruth’s guess was that these muscles were reacting to the extra mile that I’ve added to my daily walk with my dog. And – surprisingly – she found that my calf muscles were much tighter than my hamstrings.
So what is muscle stiffness? “Muscle stiffness is [the] feeling of tension and contraction in the muscles, that may limit normal range of motion,&rd...
Lately, I’ve found that my hips have stiffened up. According to my massage therapist, part of the reason is due to lower back issues that I’ve been facing. It turns out that my lower back has recruited my hip muscles into a revolt that at times can be uncomfortable and at times can be downright painful.
And I’m not alone because, unfortunately, stiff hips can be part of aging for women. In her book, “Fit and Fabulous After 40,” Denise Austin notes that women’s hips differ from men’s. “Our hip socket is called a Q socket, and unlike men, the line from knee to hip isn’t straight; our femurs, or upper leg bones, fit into the hip socket at an angle,” she writes. “For this reason, women tend to experience more hip problems are they grow older.” She notes that issues with your hips can impact your ability to walk and also can lead to back pain and other injuries. Plus, I want to do everything I can to avoid getting arth...
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