Ma, it hurts!
September 22, 2013 5:13 PM   Subscribe

As I get older (34f) I'm finding that when I stub my toe or accidentally bump myself somewhere, it hurts so much more than it used to. I used to bounce back pretty quickly. It's not like I bruise more easily, just the immediate pain is more acute and lasts a bit longer. Got any tips on how to bring back more resilience?
posted by mooza to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you noticing any kind of hormonal correlation with the extended ouches? Because that is definitely a thing that I am experiencing and OH MAN DOES IT MAKE ME STABBY.

Also, are you getting enough sleep? Everything is exponentially more terrible when you're tired. This is Science Fact.
posted by elizardbits at 5:17 PM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

My body and the moans of many a friend say this is a normal part of aging and: this is your new normal. There would appear to be other bad things down this path like new interests in 'but will it digest well' and no ability to not feel any amount of booze the next day, but on the plus side you will probably get a little more stoic (as it is stoic-up or become an insufferable whiner). I hope this is not too dreary, but you know how falls are a (confusingly, to the young) big deal to the elderly? This is where that starts, best I can tell.

Unfortunately exercise and clean living are helpful.
posted by kmennie at 7:19 PM on September 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some of this is just getting older, which suuuucks (I sprained my ankle 5 months ago and it's still a little ouchy, and I recall the exact same injury sidelining me for maybe 2 weeks when I was 18).

But I think a bigger element is just that we get desensitized to pain, especially the minor bumps and bruises. I mean, when I was a child and all the way through college, I was a rough-and-tumble sporty girl who played soccer, did martial arts, worked on a farm, etc. I was always a wreck. Now I am Grown Up and Professional; bruises, blisters, and limping don't really contribute to my image, so I do yoga and take long walks and, basically, collide with things far less than I did a decade ago. It's definitely a shock when I do run into something hard enough to bruise, because I've forgotten what it was like when this was literally a weekly occurence for me. So my advice is to either take up kickboxing, or just take the annoying flare of stubbed toe pain as a reminder that you're an Actually Less Clumsy Grown Up now.
posted by TwoStride at 8:04 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

2nding the potential hormonal connection. I'm a little younger than you, but in the past year it's been some real eye-opening nonsense. Certain times of the month, not only does everything hurt more, but I just have zero threshold for dealing with it.

That said, my BF is your age exactly and has recently observed, "If I actually tried to catalogue all of the things that are technically wrong with my body any given minute, I'd go into the fetal position right here on the sidewalk."

We both figure we could stand to get into a little bit better shape and maybe just toughen up more generally. Is there anything you can do, sporty-wise or activity wise, that would really reward the ability to "shake it off"? aaaaaand now I have become my father
posted by like_a_friend at 8:40 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

you know how falls are a (confusingly, to the young) big deal to the elderly?

Falls are a big deal to the elderly because it's not infrequent for them to be the cause of a broken hip or other broken bone in elderly people (who are more likely to have osteoporosis), and a broken hip is also a prelude to entering a nursing home and death in a good percentage of cases. Also, breaking your hip probably hurts a lot.

For myself, if I'm under a lot of general stress I find that ordinary bumps and bruises can be more painful. I haven't found that getting older in general brings more pain with these things, but if you start telling yourself that it does that's likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by yohko at 9:41 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

You're not "old". It sounds like stress.
posted by inkypinky at 1:05 AM on September 23, 2013

What Elizarsbits said: hormones and stress and tiredness. Could you be anemic? Not a direct cause... but being anemic can make you awfully tired, which makes Everything Awfuller. I am all around less resilient to pain, stress, hormone fluctuations etc. I have iron deficiency anemia... it sneaks up on you over time, so it's worth getting a check up!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:57 AM on September 23, 2013

Nthing TwoStride and you are not old. I'm 37 closer to 38, have also been a rough-and-tumble sort my whole life. The only times I've noticed increased pain sensitivity have been:
- fluctuating hormones (nthing that too)
- not getting enough iron or magnesium
- not having done much exercise

It's a well-known Thing in cycling, for instance, that when you stop for more than a couple months (winter, for instance), then get back on your bike, all of a sudden that saddle you loved needs to go!! OMG it hurts!! Since when did it bruise your butt and make you want to waddle?! You can't even sit on a couch without wincing! Well, if you stick with it for 4 or 5 more outings, it becomes a Great Saddle again. Why, because it was never the saddle in the first place, it was your behind having lost its old habits of resilience.

Caveats for genuine injuries, of course. But if there's no major bruising, and you notice the pain subsides after a day or two, then chances are it's just your body having gotten out of habit. Exercise does help, I definitely noticed a dip in overall resiliency during a period where I couldn't do much physical activity. In the last few years I've been able to get back into cycling, resilience has gone back up. Not just the targeted body parts, but all around. It's a great habit to get into for healthy aging, too, since exercise is very important for being able to live a more active older life (that link gives a newsletter signup popup, you can close it without problems though – be sure to scroll down to the table of aging without exercise and with, it's impressive).
posted by fraula at 3:20 AM on September 23, 2013

Response by poster: Oh dear, I know I'm not old, just saying as I get oldER, bumps are a bit more ouchy.

I eat pretty well, don't drink, don't do drugs, could exercise a bit more than I do at the mo, I suppose I have been working a lot and it's been a bit stressful, but I'm pretty well happy and satisfied with my lot at the moment, albeit tired and sleepy, so everything you guys have said makes sense.

Hormones/iron/magnesium/exercise/stress seem like things I can work on. Or it could be that I'm just more of a wuss now! In any case, thanks all!
posted by mooza at 3:47 AM on September 23, 2013

I find the opposite. I'm about to turn 51, and it seems like I don't feel as much pain as I used to. Sprained ankle? Meh. Broken arm? Ride the bicycle home 10 miles and wait till morning to go to ER. Maybe the increase in pain is something that peaks at 40 or something, then decreases. Or maybe it's a lady thing (I'm not one of those).

It's a well-known Thing in cycling, for instance, that when you stop for more than a couple months (winter, for instance), then get back on your bike, all of a sudden that saddle you loved needs to go!! OMG it hurts!!

Have you tried a Brooks saddle? Kind of a leather hammock style of bicycle seat. Kind of expensive, but they form to you and make riding more comfy.
posted by Doohickie at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2013

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