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 Easley folks will contend with sarcopenia at some point and to some extent. Loss of skeletal muscle is one of the more remarkable changes related to aging. Young Chiropractic is sensitive to this condition. Many of our older Easley chiropractic patients experience sarcopenia to some extent. Muscles are important to spine health. So here, Young Chiropractic presents this discussion about sarcopenia along with some treatment recommendations.

First know 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.

Although there is no generally accepted 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) Young Chiropractic finds, refers and/or cares for many Easley 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 approaches like antioxidant supplementation (4) and increased dietary protein intake have been explored. 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) Young Chiropractic always recommends the simplest exercises so that our Easley 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 Young Chiropractic encourages exercise not just for back pain and neck pain control and healing, but also for overall health and well-being as our Easley chiropractic patients age.

So contact Young Chiropractic for a Easley chiropractic consultation as you age. As a part of your healthcare team, Young Chiropractic will help keep you from the effects of the strangely-named condition of sarcopenia.