It sounds like something out of a Twilight Zone episode, but it appears researchers are on the road toward genetic engineering that could halt aging.
So far, studies done on mice* have proven to delay or even eradicate several common age-related issues, including muscle wasting, wrinkles, and cataracts. They did so using drug therapy that forces senescent cells—cells related to normal, biological aging—to self-destruct. Senescent cells usually build up over time as part of the aging process.
For a long time, it was an accepted tenet of medical science that the aging process is inevitable and cannot be stopped. In fact, it’s only been in recent decades that the idea of conquering aging was even a possibility, although most studies have only bolstered the absolute certainty of aging—until now, that is. For the most part, the study has proven that senescent cells do play a major role in aging, and that they can be thwarted.
The mice in the study were able to exercise for longer periods of time. They also did not lose the layers of fat in the skin that keep it looking young. While the study’s approach cannot be used on humans as of yet, it’s believed that this breakthrough may spur the development of such therapies for the elderly or even halt the aging process as it occurs.
But what can we do about aging right now?
We already know a lot of ways to help slow the aging process. A good diet, consistent exercise, and a positive outlook all play important roles in staying in good shape throughout the years.
I think we can’t underestimate the value of attitude in all of this—if you believe that aging is synonymous with pain and reduced quality of life, it’s definitely time to take your ideas about aging and forget them completely. You don’t need to suffer with back pain, debilitating arthritis, knee pain, etc. There are steps we can take now to halt further injury or disease, build strength, and fight pain.
Let’s take a look at some common age-related conditions, and the steps we can take together to combat them:
- Knee pain: Unless you really want to stop running, hiking, or playing tennis, it’s important to find the right solutions for knee pain. Monmouth Pain offers a really wide variety of options for the treatment of knee pain, including Physical Therapy and Chiropractic as well as Steroid Injections. Additionally, we offer a procedure known as Viscosupplementation. If you’ve never heard of this before, it involves replacing the depleted lubricating fluid of the knee joint (this fluid dissipates naturally with age). Viscosupplementation can also be used to flush out inflammatory chemicals and provide an analgesic effect.
- Arthritis: Despite what you might believe, osteoarthritis is really not a regular part of the aging process. When this disease is treated correctly from the start, patients can conquer pain and disability without resorting to surgeries and/or long-term painkiller use. Keep in mind that ensuring correct spinal alignment over the course of a lifetime can help patients steer clear of the mechanical stresses that lead to osteoarthritis. For joint pain, our office provides corticosteroid joint injections as well as the aforementioned viscosupplementation (when osteoarthritis affects the knees).
- Foot Pain: Are you aware that the arch of the foot collapses over time? As the feet get flatter, you might begin to experience foot pain as well as problems with your back, hips, knees, and overall spine. Monmouth Pain is certified to provide a specific type of biomechanical orthotic that is custom-made based on each patient’s weight, activities, and foot flexibility. These orthotics (Sole Supports) apply force under the arch of the foot in order to change the way your feet function on the ground.
- Age-Related Back Pain and Degenerative Disc Disease: With time and age, spinal discs will experience changes. This can become a serious problem when the discs incur a trauma (such as during a car accident or a slip-and-fall). For some patients, changes in the discs are severe enough that we call the problem Degenerative Disc Disease. In addition to compromising the normal functioning of the spinal discs, issues with the discs can cause compression/irritation of the spinal nerves. For some patients, this leads to sciatica and lower back pain. For such sufferers, our office would recommend PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, and—for some—Epidural Steroid Injections.
With real solutions for rehabilitation and pain management in Red Bank, NJ, it’s time to put a new spin on getting older. Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation can be reached by clicking here.
* This study was published in the journal Nature by a team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota,