Pain from arthritis is not an inevitable part of aging. As we all get older, there’s more likelihood to develop different problems: arthritic pains, heart disease, all sorts of things that may become more likely, but in no way makes them inevitable.

In the same way that we wouldn’t accept that just because we get a little older, we may have cholesterol in our arteries and plaques and "Well, what are you going to do? We’re just getting older," that would be ridiculous; we totally would not accept that. We would say, look, diet, nutrition, Lipitor®, if the plaques get too bad you need to stent them. In the same way that we treat these other problems, pain from arthritis, pain from other causes, can be treated and prevented as well.

Essentially, you know, pain is so common, that we look around and we’re all so used to people having pain and from telling each other that, "Yeah, it’s so hard, as we get older, and this and that." What we need to do is to change the mindset of how we look at the body as we get older and to recognize that if we do a good job of keeping our muscles strong and limber and helping the muscles to take the pressure off of the joints and the back, then we can really do a lot to prevent these kinds of wear and tear types of changes as we get a little bit older.

And when the pain does arise, if we do develop knee pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, back pain, et cetera, well we have good treatments to be able to take away that pain. And then we need to get hooked back in with the right kinds of exercise and recognize that the best way to prevent pain is to stay strong and stay flexible. And that’s how we stay healthy going into the future.

Dr. Grant Cooper is a physiatrist with several years of clinical experience, specializing in the non-surgical treatment of spine, joint, and muscle pain. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Princeton Spine and Joint Center and the Co-Director of the Interventional Spine Program. Dr. Cooper has authored and edited 15 books.