KCP Physical Therapy recently had the opportunity to join the Harris YMCA as a featured speaker, presenting a class entitled “Staying Strong: Good Pain vs. Bad Pain.”

Physical therapist Joy Pfuhl led the class, designed for those ages 50 and up. She was joined by Ashley Williams, DPT, who also contributed and answered questions after the presentation.

Topics included the normal aging process of the musculoskeletal system, common problems seen among an aging population, how to prevent injury while safely pushing to build strength, and understanding the difference between “good” pain and “bad” pain.

Participants learned about the normal wear and tear they can expect their joints to experience over the course of a lifetime as well as the effects of a general decrease in bone density and loss of muscle tone and mass. Postural changes, gait changes, and a reduction in balance may occur as natural results of these physiological changes.

Joy discussed common problems that she often sees accompanying some of these changes. Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, shoulder impingements, cervical degenerative disc disease, hip and knee pains are all not only common, but also treatable through a combination of physical therapy techniques, including manual manipulation, modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, and general strength, balance and fitness training.

The group also learned the importance of incorporating a variety of movements into their fitness regimes. Strength training, balance training, cardio, resistance training, and low-impact activities form a well-rounded approach to allow the body to perform optimally. Each person should pay close attention to how his own body reacts to each new activity or weight used, assessing how they feel during and after an exercise is complete as well how they continue to do over time.

Finally, the class discussed when to call a professional for the pain, reviewing “good” pains (muscle soreness that occurs with building strength) and “bad” pains (deep aching, searing, burning, tingling and sharp pains or numbness) that should be addressed after persevering for more than two weeks (or sooner based on severity).

KCP would like to thank the YMCA for the invitation to be a part of their healthy aging programming!