Pain and the Weekend Warrior – The Roots of Stiffness

By | May 28, 2012

Age related stiffness can be minimized through the aggressive and consistent practice of yoga and other forms of stretching exercise.

When I was in medical school a million years ago during a lecture on geriatrics a professor made the interesting claim that the most common and inexorable concomitant of aging was loss of flexibility. He went on to say that there were many examples of patients maintaining there strength and mental faculties well into their 80s and 90s but that even patients who exercised regularly show profound losses in flexibility. I have thought about this many times during the ensuing years and while I will grant that the stiffness that I routinely see is widespread and severe, some of my yoga patients have led me to believe that it is not irremediable. There is group of women in their 80’s and 90’s who have been attending a yoga class on Tuesday mornings at the Joslyn Center in Burbank for many years. They are more supple than women half their age and we see them very rarely at Schlesinger Pain Centers. Flexibility may in fact be no more difficult to prevent than other concomitants of aging. The problem is that yoga and other forms of stretching tend to be less attractive to the average American than other forms or exercise. In addition, the advantages of increased flexibility tend to be less obvious in everyday life, although I can assure you that they are no less real.


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