Aged Care

6 of the Most Common Musculoskeletal Conditions in Older People

As people age, they also develop various kinds of medical conditions. And, some of the most common are musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, a recent report from GBI Research indicates that the global musculoskeletal disorders therapeutics market has seen significant growth in recent years. This means that the number of people, especially the members of the geriatric population, who are dealing with these problems is also increasing.

Now, if you have aging loved ones at home, it is important to know what health issues they have. This way, you will be able to address the problems right away in case they occur. So, what are the most common musculoskeletal disorders in seniors?

1. Back Pain

According to research, low back pain affects up to 80% of the world’s population, with the majority of this group being older people. More often than not, this condition is manifested with pain in the lower back, which can extend to the thighs. Depending on the activities your aging loved ones are involved in, this condition may be episodic or permanent.

Nonetheless, it can be treated with non-invasive procedures, such as physiotherapy.

2. Osteoporosis

Also known as degenerative arthritis, osteoporosis is characterised by low bone mass and deteriorating bone tissue. It causes your elderly loved ones to have frail bones, increasing their risk of having skeletal injuries.

Some comprehensive programs are designed to prevent and treat osteoporosis for both older men and women. These programs can include an exercise regimen, proper nutrition, and a safety routine to prevent injuries. Aside from these, there are also prescription medications that help stop or slow bone loss and increase bone density.

3. Osteoarthritis

This is a chronic condition that is associated with damage to the cartilage and the tissues surrounding it. It is often characterised by stiffness, loss of function, swelling, bony overgrowth, and pain in the joints or other affected areas of the body. Also, these symptoms occur when your elderly loved ones are inactive and they disappear shortly after constant moving.

Treatments for osteoarthritis can range from exercises and pain relievers for minor cases to joint surgery or replacement for severe cases.

4. Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica, which usually affects individuals over 60 years of age, is often presented with stiffness and pain in the shoulders or hip bones. Also, this condition would develop insidiously, where aching would not be apparent, but your aging loved ones would already show other symptoms such as apathy or loss of appetite. When aching and stiffness occur, it will be difficult for them to carry out their daily activities.

Most of the time, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids are used to manage this condition. If there isn’t any improvement within a short period of taking these medications, then they should undergo another diagnosis to consider further treatments.

5. Crystal-Associated Arthritis

Generally, crystal-associated arthritis covers a range of conditions, including gout, pseudogout, and acute monoarthritis. Like other types of arthritis, it may also present with swelling, acute pain, and redness of the affected areas, such as joints. While it comes with fever sometimes, it will just be mild.

Like polymyalgia rheumatica, crystal-associated arthritis can also be treated with regular doses of NSAIDs or intra-articular injection of corticosteroids into the affected areas.

6. Fractures

Because of the physiological changes your aging loved ones will experience, they will become at risk of having fractures. For example, they will become prone to slipping and falling, which are major causes of such injuries, due to difficulty in walking, seeing, or moving.

Some proven ways to significantly reduce fracture risks is treating low bone mineral density (BMD) and using interventions to prevent falls at home.

By nature, musculoskeletal disorders are common in the geriatric population. Nonetheless, there is always a medical solution that you can take to treat such conditions when your aging loved ones start having them. And, you can also always choose to put your elderly loved ones under private home care, so that you will receive extra help in addressing and dealing with these problems.

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