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Casualties of the Baby Boomer Age
"Boomeritis" is in response to the tremendous increase in bone and joint aches, pains, injuries and ailments that were affecting middle-aged Americans.
Date: 10/1/2007

As World War II came to a close in 1945 and young soldiers returned home, the United States experienced a dramatic increase in birth rates that would continue into the early 1960s and result in the births of approximately 79 million babies. This statistical explosion is commonly referred to as the Baby Boom and those born between 1946 and 1964 are affectionately referred to as baby boomers.


Baby Boomers Are 20th Century Phenomenon

Professor Robert J. Anderson, Sociologist, Assistant Provost of The College of New Jersey, notes that boomers are “the biggest demographic phenomenon of the 20th century that will be felt even more in the 21st century.” Professor Anderson explains that the birth rate statistics tell the story. 


In 1946, the number of births exploded to 3.47 million. In the peak Baby Boom years of 1957 and 1961, there were 4.3 million births. It wasn’t until the mid-sixties that the birth rate began to fall. In 1964, the last official year of the Baby Boom, 4 million babies were born. From 1965 on, this number dropped until it hit a low of 3.14 million in 1973, the least number of births since 1945.


Fitness Craze Packs a Punch

Joshua Hornstein, MD, board certified orthopaedic surgeon at RWJ Hamilton, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Diplomate, points out another important factor: boomers enthusiastically embraced the 1970s fitness and exercise craze, and they haven’t looked back. Unlike previous generations, boomers are living, working and playing longer.


In 1999, Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon in Philadelphia, coined the term “boomeritis” in response to the tremendous increase in bone and joint aches, pains, injuries and ailments that were affecting middle-aged Americans. And with approximately 77 million boomers, boomeritis is on the rise.


Addressing the issue of boomeritis, Dr. Hornstein says, “We are seeing injuries now that were less common in the previous generation. People are playing sports longer and more competitively.” To reduce the potential for injury, Dr. Hornstein recommends that boomers work on their flexibility, endurance, and strength. “It helps to balance fitness routines, cross-train to alleviate stress to the same muscles, and prepare properly for participation in any sport,” he says. “If they start having a problem, it’s important to not push through it. They should rest, and if that doesn’t work, they should seek medical attention.”


Fortunately, most people will get better without surgery. For those who require surgery, recovery times vary, depending on the location and type of procedure. “Some patients, particularly if they have minimally invasive (arthroscopic) surgery, can recover in as little as four weeks,” says Dr. Hornstein.


RWJ Hamilton is There For You

RWJ Hamilton is ready to help you stay on top of your health and care for the injuries and ailments many baby boomers experience. We offer an extensive community education program, physical therapy and cardiac rehabilitation services, over 650 physicians representing 30 medical specialties, a convenient, state-of-the-art cancer center (Cancer Institute of New Jersey Hamilton) and an orthopedic program that begins with a pre-surgical education program and continues until you are back to your normal routine.


Dr. Hornstein received his medical degree from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Albert Einstein College and completed a Fellowship in sports medicine at Boston University. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery and takes special interest in sports medicine, arthroscopy and shoulder surgery.



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