How to Prevent Your Musculoskeletal System from Deteriorating

There are over 200 musculoskeletal (muscle, bone and joint) diseases that affect quality of life and have a big economic impact. They are also a leading cause of pain and disability. Our clients seek the guidance of a Kinesiologist to help them select appropriate exercises to manage pain and improve physical function. An encouraging recent review of several studies continues to support exercise therapy for the treatment of many of these conditions and diseases including “fibromyalagia (FM), low back pain (LBP), neck pain (NP), and shoulder pain (SP), and four specific musculoskeletal diseases: osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and osteoporosis (OP)” (Hagen et al, 2012).

Impact of Musculoskeletal Conditions on Society

“About one in five consultations in primary care are for musculoskeletal conditions,” (Hagen et al, 2012) those patients are often referred other health care professionals including Kinesiologists. These conditions are so prevalent that the United Nations declared 2000 – 2010 the decade of Bone and Joint.

Bone and Joint

This mandate has been extended another 10 years. The World Health Organization is focused on “achieving the global objective of gaining recognition of the importance of musculoskeletal conditions globally, regionally, and nationally” (Conference Board of Canada, 2012).In an Ontario health survey these conditions were associated with 54% of all long-term disabilities and 24% of all restricted activities. Persistent chronic pain from musculoskeletal conditions is estimated to affect 20 – 30% of adults in Canada and Europe. In Sweden these conditions were responsible for 25% of the costs for all illnesses (Hagen et al, 2012); in 2000, musckoskeletal conditions were the most costly condition in Canada with an estimated cost of $22.3 billion.

Three quarters of these costs are attributed to decreases in economic productivity due to long-term short-term disability and premature death (Conference Board of Canada, 2012). The impact of bone, muscle and joint diseases increases with age. These diseases account for half of all chronic disease for those over 65 (Conference Board of Canada, 2012). Risk factors include smoking, inactivity and obesity. The pain and physical disability due to these diseases and conditions affects social function and mental health which diminishes quality of life (Woolf, 2003).

Exercise Prevents Age Related Muscle, Bone and Joint Diseases and Deterioration

The tide has shifted from doctors prescribing medications, inactivity and rest when managing these conditions to the prescription of more physical approaches. In over 224 trials dating back to 2007 with 24,059 patients the reviewers found solid evidence that supports exercise therapy in the management of musculoskeletal conditions. What did they find?

  • Exercise therapy is very beneficial for improving function and reducing pain from osteoarthritis, low-back pain, fibromyalgia and shoulder pain.
  • Little evidence that exercise therapy influences disease pathogenesis, except for osteoporosis. There is support that exercise therapy can influence bone density in postmenopausal women.
  • Benefits of treatment increases with the number of exercises sessions for low back pain and osteoarthritis (Hagen et al, 2012).

Kinesiology Helps People with Musculoskeletal Diseases Stay Active

Kinesiology is the study of human movement and how our environment and actions influence our health. Exercise therapy is a planned and structured program that involves the deliberate prescription of physical activity. Kinesiologists develop an exercise therapy program that includes strength and conditioning as well as lifestyle changes after an assessment and discussion about goals. Strength and conditioning programs are designed to support clients’ lifestyle goals. Examples of client goals:

  • A 50 year old client achieving a Masters 60 min track cycling World Record
  • A 70 year old client being able to lead an independent life which includes gardening, snowshoeing, hiking, painting and playing with her grandchildren well into her 80s and beyond.
  • A 50 year old highly skilled and passionate Registered Massage Therapist who wants to keep playing hockey and practicing massage therapy.
  • A 60 year old female with osteoporosis falls, fractures hip. She wants t get stronger and improve posture. She is excited to get back to riding her bicycle.

Whatever your goals are a Kinesiologist can help you maintain an active and productive life.

References

  1. Conference Board of Canada. Mortality due to musculoskeletalsystems and disease. February, 2012
  2. Hagen, Kare Birger; Daginfrud; Moe, Rikke Hene; Osteras, Nina; Kjeken, Igvild; Grotle, Margreth, Smedslund; Exercise therapy for bone and muscle health: an overviewof systematic reviews,BMC Med. 2012; 10: 167
  3. Woolf, Anthony D & Bruce Pfleger. Burden of major musculoskeletalconditions. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003;8646-656

Alfred Ball

CEO | Practicing Kinesiologist | Certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. He founded Lifemoves in 2007. He has been a Practicing Kinesiologist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the NSCA for over 15 years. When he isn't helping people regain their strength and confidence to move with ease he is hanging out with his wife and young son, writing, or training for his next endurance running race. His big audacious goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

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