Older Kiwi blokes need to take aches & pains more seriously say rehab experts

According to Active+, men in their mid-thirties and beyond are avoiding rehab, physio & other appointments - which could hurt their health in the long run.

Active+, one of the country’s only 100% Kiwi owned physiotherapy and rehabilitation networks, is urging men in their mid-30s and beyond, to be far more proactive about getting their aches and injuries treated.

If they don’t, they run the risk of lengthening their recovery times and turning what could be a minor problem into something far more serious.

Active+ director, Andy Schmidt says that clinicians have noticed that younger New Zealand men attend injury rehabilitation and physiotherapy appointments about equally, if not slightly more than women. However, after the 30-35-year age bracket, there is a drastic decline in the frequency of visits.

These insights support recent international studies, which show that 60 percent of men won’t see a health professional, even if they suspect a serious health problem. Baby boomers are particularly bad at ignoring symptoms and when they do make an appointment, they are reluctant to share any details .

“We’ve found that women are more likely to get things like muscle injuries and lower back pain sorted, or work on things proactively,” explains Andy. “However, older men will come in and say “it’s actually been a problem for six months, but I thought it would come right!” And they are less likely to seek injury prevention through activities like Pilates and yoga.”

“We see this across a range of injuries and conditions including men who are cancer survivors. It’s much harder to get men in their mid-thirties and beyond to attend cancer rehab appointments,” he adds. “Often, they only show up because their wife or partner has sent them in.”

According to Andy, many Kiwi men have been brought up to adopt a tough ‘she'll be right' attitude to most things in life, including their health. However, that lack of proactiveness could come at a price.

“Injuries and chronic pain can impede your life in so many ways. It keeps you away from your favourite sports and hobbies and can even prevent you from being able to get to work and make a living. That’s on top of the psychological impact. A relatively minor niggle can make you miserable if it’s persistent enough.”

Andy’s advice is for men to always get pain checked out by a GP or physio rather than burying their head in the sand and hoping it will get better.

“Ignoring early symptoms and signs of pain won’t make it go away – some things just don’t get better on their own,” he says. “That discomfort could progress and become increasingly complicated to treat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help and there is no need to put up with pain and injury when there are so many options available for treating it.

“Whatever your particular injury or issue is, your health professional will be able to put together a treatment plan to get you back out enjoying your life as soon as possible. That could include anything from stretches and joint mobilisation to strength training and soft tissue massage. It will be completely tailored to your needs, and what you’re comfortable with and should include a home programme of care to continue your rehab.”

For more details, visit activeplus.co.nz or follow Active+ on Facebook.