April 07, 2015

Sarcopenia. Strange word. Common condition.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with aging. (1)  So all of us Southern New Hampshire folks will cope with sarcopenia at some point and to some extent. Loss of skeletal muscle is one of the more remarkable changes related to aging. New Hampshire Spine and Sport is sensitive to this condition. Many of our older Southern New Hampshire chiropractic patients experience sarcopenia to some extent. Muscles are important to spine health. So here, New Hampshire Spine and Sport presents this discussion about sarcopenia along with some treatment recommendations.

To begin with, recognize that from the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass and function, a condition known as age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still experience some muscle loss.

Even though there is no broadly approved test or specific level of muscle mass for sarcopenia diagnosis, any loss of muscle mass is of consequence because loss of muscle means loss of strength and mobility. Sarcopenia typically accelerates around age 75 - although it may happen in people age 65 or 80 - and is a factor in the occurrence of frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults like those due to osteoporosis. (2) New Hampshire Spine and Sport finds, refers and/or cares for many Southern New Hampshire patients with spinal fractures.


woman exercising with a band


So what can be done to prevent and/or treat sarcopenia? The primary treatment for sarcopenia is exercise. Specifically, resistance training or strength training - exercise that increases muscle strength and endurance with weights or resistance bands - has been shown to be useful for both the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. (3) Other methods like antioxidant supplementation (4) and heightened dietary protein consumption have been examined. One study showed that intake of a protein-calorie supplement by very old men and women was associated with greater strength and muscle mass gains compared to a placebo. (5) New Hampshire Spine and Sport always suggests the most basic exercises so that our Southern New Hampshire patients will do them and keep doing them.(photo: ©iStockphoto.com/AlexRaths)


Sarcopenia results from decreased physical activity with aging, a key factor in its development. Unfortunately progressive muscle wasting occurs with aging with a range of significance from 8.8% in young old women to 17.5% in old old men. (1) So New Hampshire Spine and Sport encourages exercise not just for back pain and neck pain control and healing, but also for overall health and well-being as our Southern New Hampshire chiropractic patients age.

So contact New Hampshire Spine and Sport for a Southern New Hampshire chiropractic consultation as you age. As a part of your healthcare team, New Hampshire Spine and Sport will help keep you from the effects of the strangely-named condition of sarcopenia.