Lifting your suitcase into the overhead compartment, stuffing your shoulder bag to capacity, allowing your 80-pound golden lab to yank his way through a daily walk. None of these qualify as risky behavior, but now that you're over 50 you're paying the price. What gives? In short: Your shoulders.
"Think of it as driving a car — you're given one set of tires and that's it,” explains Akhil Chhatre, M.D., director of spine rehabilitation and assistant professor in the departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The wear and tear that you experience on those tires depends on how much and how hard you use your body."