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The pains life brings forth

Its important to realize as you age, the nagging aches and pains that arrive within and on your old bones and tissue can for the most part be managed. This summer at a concert I had to run nearly a hundred yards wearing large logging boots. Reaching my destination I knew immediately from pain I felt in my right knee that Id somehow hurt it. It was obvious the injury wasnt from any sort of contact, so I wasnt sure what might have caused the injury, nor was I sure what the injury was. Pain will sometimes leave as quickly as it arrived, but that wasnt the case with my new knee pain, it got worse as the day went on. The first night with the new pain was such a pain I didnt sleep well. In the morning, any hope of overnight recovery was stolen away by minor swelling and a good bit of stiffness... in my knee. This knee pain felt different than any Id previously had, and I wasnt totally sure this injury would heal without having to undergo some sort of surgical procedure, so I made an appointment with my trusty physical therapist. Main point to folks over forty; by recommendation or cold calling, find a very good physical therapist. Ive had one for about 10 years who has worked plenty a cranky aging pain away, while at the same time talking me through why and how it occurred, and what I could do to make it stay away. My PT knew, after a few tugs on my knee that I wasnt going to need surgery to fix it. I swear, once I knew the problem with my knee was a bruise, not a tear, a load lifted from my mind, and 40% of the pain went away. The years Id gone to my PT had given my confidence in his judgment, thats why its important to establish a relationship with a therapist you can trust as soon as you can, you old creaky cusses. My PT said if the pain wasnt mostly gone within a week I should come back and hed do some therapy. But he said he expected it would heal on its own. He didnt bother telling me to take it easy for a few days, or to start doing specific exercises to strengthen the small muscles in and around my knee, because he knew I knew the drill, which was rest and exercise concentrated around the knee would both help it heal, and keep it strong and bolstered from it happening again. By the way, the problem was a bruised meniscus (Meniscus is knee cartilage that stabilize, act as spacers and shock absorbers to the area in and around the knee, also helping with marriage of tibia and femur), caused by trauma to the knee bones and joint from running in my large boots, the hard soles not allowing for any type of cushion what so ever. Made sense to me. The knee pain did decrease, but not as quickly as Id hoped. (Oh to be 48) I pushed it less when I exercised, totally stopped hiking for a month, and I added some strengthening exercises that address the weak area, and now, though its almost a full three months since the injury, Im pain free and back to about ninety-five percent strength. If I were 28, and stayed off it totally, the knee would have healed completely in half the time, but thats fine, with age comes patience and knowledge, which is why last week when I tweaked my inner shoulder, I added to my daily errands a 10-minute routine, which concentrates on all the small muscles deep in the shoulder that arent always strong and pliable for lack of use. My shoulder responded right away, the pain was gone in three days. Were lucky to live in a time where there are folks whove spent a lot of years and money studying how bodies respond to proper care. I have to assume when prickly injuries brought on aches and pains to people in past generations, they simply grinned and bared it and just plodded through. *Alert to everyone, even you little kids who will some day have a case of, Back Pack Back. Please take care of your smallish pains in the arms and knees and neck, and back and feet and so on and so forth as your life progresses, because if you dont, youll probably end up taking pills for the pain, and thats not the best case. Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act The Logger. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at rustyd@pshift.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com

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