Booming Forward: Staying active despite chronic pain

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DRAPER, Utah -- It’s kind of a cruel paradox—right when you’re reaching that part of life when retirement should mean more time for fun activities, you’re also likely to have increased physical pain.

Today’s “boomers” and older adults are more active than any generation before them.

However, chronic pain can put a real damper on your fun and once active lifestyle. The most common culprit: arthritis.

FOX 13’s Dave Nemeth visited the Draper Senior Center and spoke with visiting medical professionals about how arthritis affects the lives of those who are currently retired, or are approaching retirement age.

Orthopedist Dr. Christian Sybrowsky earned his medical degree from the University of Utah and spends a great deal of time speaking to older adults who deal with chronic pain.

Tuesday at the senior center, thanks to salt lake county aging and adult services, he shared his knowledge with frustrated folks fighting chronic pain.

He said treatments for these aches and pains can be simple, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, cortisone injections or, in extreme cases, joint replacement.

Pat Ribkind is no stranger to pain.  Due to extreme arthritis, she has had both knees replaced.  Now she battles chronic ankle and foot pain brought on by neuropathy.

Jim Bulkeley suffers from chronic arthritis pain and says today’s class was very helpful. “There are some things he said I could try, maybe lose a little weight I guess is always a cure for a lot of things these days,” Bulkeley said.

Dr. Sybrowsky said Losing just one pound equates to up to 10 pounds of weight-bearing stress off a sore knee or ankle.  He added that solutions to chronic pain vary and, while it may sound counterproductive, activity at the affected area can be the best medicine.

“Science has shown many studies have demonstrated over and over again that an active lifestyle, staying as active as possible is very, very important not only to your overall health but also to your joint health,” Sybrowsky said.

He stressed that people see their doctor to make sure they aren’t overdoing things.