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Bones and joints: 325th FW Physical Therapy clinic tips for improving the body

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph McFatter, 325th Medical Group physical therapy technician, demonstrates a stretch for a 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 08, 2020. The 325th MDG physical therapy clinic helps active duty members on their road to recovery with injuries and improving their overall health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stefan Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph McFatter, 325th Medical Group physical therapy technician, demonstrates a stretch for a 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 08, 2020. The 325th MDG physical therapy clinic helps active duty members on their road to recovery with injuries and improving their overall health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stefan Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph McFatter, 325th Medical Group physical therapy technician, helps a 325th Fighter Wing Airmen with a stretch at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 08, 2020. The 325th MDG physical therapy clinic helps active duty members on their road to recovery with injuries and improving their overall health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stefan Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph McFatter, 325th Medical Group physical therapy technician, helps a 325th Fighter Wing Airmen with a stretch at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 08, 2020. The 325th MDG physical therapy clinic helps active duty members on their road to recovery with injuries and improving their overall health. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stefan Alvarez)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

One of the most overlooked yet most common sources for pain and discomfort are things we use every day yet often neglect, and it’s quite literally right beneath our skin.

Bone and Joint Health National Awareness week is held annually on Oct. 12-20 and aims to raise awareness about the management, prevention, and treatment of bone and joint conditions. Many of which affect people of all ages.

“Your skeletal system is literally and figuratively the backbone of your body,” said Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Smen, 325th Medical Group physical therapy technician. “If you have any bones or joints that are compromised, other parts of the body will take over to compensate and potentially break down at the same time or quicker than normal.”

The prevention of developing a bone or joint related issue can be something as simple as being conscious of or improving one’s posture.

“Posture is definitely one of the things that’s taken for granted when it comes to your skeletal health,” Smen said. “It may be comfortable for you now, but later on down the road when you develop a condition like scoliosis, it’s difficult to undo the years of bad posture you subject yourself to.”

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being active can also avert issues with bones and joints from developing, and improve overall health.

“A simple daily mobility routine can change your life,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph McFatter, 325th MDG physical therapy technician. “Think about how much you’re on your feet or how often you reach down to pick something up like a pen, garbage, your child. Having good healthy joints is 100 percent key for your everyday quality of life.”

Figuring out the best routine for each individual lifestyle is a key factor in making the most out of exercises and preventing injuries.

“At the end of the day we all have the same body, but composition is entirely different,” said Smen.  “Just because one person is successful using a diet or doing one type of activity doesn’t mean it will work for you. You have to find the balance between what kind of activity works and how much your body can handle.”

Military members often run into bone and joint problems due to frequent exercise or job related activities, and almost all of these issues can be remedied by stretching.

“If you could change the force with one simple thing, it would be stretching,” said McFatter. “If we took the time to educate folks and taught them how to properly stretch before exercising, I think you would see a much stronger and healthier Air Force.”