Can you treat pain with movement?

Many people take medication to treat pain — but this might not be your only option. Did you know that movement and exercise can be helpful, too? Discover the importance of mobility when it comes to pain relief and what you can do to get moving…

treat pain

Is movement an effective form of pain treatment?

Moving your body can help treat pain in multiple ways and can enhance function for musculoskeletal pain sufferers, too. Improving function in this way has been found to reduce disability, lower feelings of depression and improve someone’s physical condition and quality of life. When it comes to a person’s wellbeing, exercise can help regulate sleep patterns and reduce stress levels. It’s clear to see that movement is not only about losing weight or keeping fit.

What can you do?

If you are suffering from chronic or temporary pain, you don’t want to make it worse. Check out these exercises for improving pain and getting back to normal quicker.

Pilates

This exercise focuses on breathing properly and improving core strength. Pilates is often performed as a flow of movement rather than static exercises, which some people prefer.

Gentle and low-impact, Pilates is a popular exercise for many people of all ages. The specialised apparatus used in the exercise can help treat chronic back pain and build muscle. Alternatively, the apparatus can be used to support someone with back pain to allow them to do certain movements. The performed exercises focus on improving your flexibility, strength and body awareness by working with your abdominal core muscles.

Your joints, balance and posture should all improve with regular Pilates — plus, you’ll see an improvement in toning and muscle strength, too. What’s more, it works with your body to relieve stress and tension.

Why not incorporate Pilates into your working day? You can find examples of desk exercises online — they’re all about controlled breathing and strengthening different muscle groups.

Yoga

Reportedly, yoga is a great help when it comes to back pain. A study discovered significant differences between the brains of those who experienced chronic pain and the brains of those who regularly practised yoga. Researchers found that the sufferers of chronic pain had less of the kind of brain tissue in the regions that help us tolerate pain. On the other hand, those who did yoga had more of this brain tissue.

If you’re prone to day-to-day aches and pains, yoga could be for you. This is through practising certain postures that lengthen the spine, improve alignment, and stretch and strengthen the muscles.

Although certain products and medication are extremely effective, like gels to help relieve back pain, stretching can release tension and eradicate pain. Try a simple, gentle form of yoga, as opposed to more strenuous styles — you don’t want to make the situation worse by over-stretching. Always ask what sort of class it is before you sign up.

Unsure about the range of poses? There are some that are especially good at easing pain. The ‘extended child’s pose’, for example, lengthens the sides of the body while providing traction on the spine. And, the ‘cobra’ is all about stretching and strengthening the spine.

Yoga isn’t only practiced by many for its toning and pain-eradicating perks — there are other benefits. These include lowered heart rate and blood pressure and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Hydrotherapy

Have you ever considered hydrotherapy for pain management? This involves the use of water to help with exercises and strength building.

With this exercise, you can keep it easy with simple routines in shallow water or take it up a notch with high-tech equipment — like underwater treadmills. The presence of the water counteracts gravity and helps support the person’s weight, making them feel lighter and able to move more freely. When it comes to those who suffer from back pain, water can reduce the axial load (weight on the spine) and allow them to do exercises that they may not be able to do on land. The viscosity in water also creates a resistance which allows people to do muscle strengthening exercises without a risk of further injury through loss of balance.

This form of therapy is excellent for helping to ease a variety of conditions, such as those with: osteoarthritis, advanced osteoporosis and muscle strain or tears. Each person’s water therapy programme is different, some pain sufferers do solely water therapy exercises and others use a combination of land-based and water-based exercises to manage their pain or rehabilitate.

Exercise truly can help ease and manage pain. Speak to your GP about which exercises will be best for you and keep active to improve your wellbeing.

Author bio

Lee Dover is a senior copywriter at Mediaworks with an interest in healthcare as well as researching into healthier ways of living. He has a BA (Hons) in Magazine Journalism.

7 Tried & Tested Ways To Soothe Chronic Pain

Yoga on the Beach of Riviera Maya
Image credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya – https://flic.kr/p/5QXfcX

Living with chronic pain is tiresome and relentless. The pain comes in many different forms, depending on the sufferer. The most common form of chronic pain is back or neck aches, but it can come from anywhere. Some conditions, like Regional Pain Syndrome affects specific areas of the body such as the legs and arms. For some chronic pain conditions, there is no cure, only management and soothing. That’s what we’re here to help with today. We’ll show you the best, and most effective ways to reduce your everyday pain.

Keeping things at a manageable level is a daily task, and you’ll need to make plenty of lifestyle changes. Learning to cope and adapt to chronic pain isn’t easy, but it all starts by making a plan! Read the following measures, and begin to incorporate them into your life as much as possible.

  1. Yoga and meditation

The root of chronic back and neck pain lies in your muscles. It’s the tension and tightness that comes with muscle age and use. We naturally build up tension in our neck and shoulder muscles, and it needs a release. Yoga and meditation is a fantastic way to do that. Many people snub these alternative therapies, but if you’ve tried everything else, it’s worth a shot! The core of yoga and meditation is managing your breathing. Deep breathing allows you to relax, which in turn helps drain the tension from your muscles. Some soft yoga will also help stretch your muscles, and wring out the pain.

  1. Reduce stress

Everyone has different triggers and causes when it comes to chronic pain. But, doctors all agree on one thing: stress worsens it! No matter the source of your pain, stress will amplify it immensely. Why? Because we hold our stress in our shoulders, back, and neck. Stress causes our muscles to tense up which fuels the pain. Think about your everyday lifestyle, and how it contributes to your stress levels. Perhaps it’s time to reduce your hours at work, or move on from a trying job. If there are stresses in the home, face up to them, and try to mitigate them.

  1. Soft exercise

Exercise produces a string of natural, feel-good chemicals. Endorphins are nature’s painkillers, and by taking regular exercise, you can help reduce the pain. The endorphins will also boost your mood, happiness, and motivation. This is essential when dealing with relentless pain. Secondly, exercise will help strengthen those painful muscles. It will help defend against further injury and pain problems.

  1. Stop smoking and drinking

Studies show that regular smoking and drinking can exacerbate the pain levels in your body. Alcohol is a particular problem because it disrupts your sleep pattern terribly. Sleeping with chronic pain is hard enough as it is, without throwing alcohol into the mix. Try to remove it from your life, or cut back significantly. The problem with smoking lies with blood flow. Healthy circulation helps ease pain, because your muscles get all the oxygen they need. Smoking disrupts that flow, and breeds painful symptoms.

  1. Massage

Now, here’s one lifestyle change you can wholeheartedly embrace! Massages help target the specific pain areas, and loosen those muscles. Remember, the pain is almost always muscle based, caused by tension. Massages help work out the nots and stress in your neck and shoulders. They’ll ease the pain by softening those core muscle groups. If you’re suffering from a particular chronic pain, let your masseuse know, and they’ll target it specifically. Other treatments like acupuncture have also proved very effective here.

  1. Good diet

A healthy diet is critical whether you’re suffering from chronic pain or not. But, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your current intake. You need to keep your blood sugar levels at a healthy dose to ensure good blood flow. You need to keep your weight down, to avoid putting more stress on those painful areas. A balanced diet will keep your body in good working order.

  1. Drug treatments

Of course, there are plenty of medicinal answers. Simple painkillers may do the trick when it comes to early pain symptoms. Speak to your doctor about the right prescription for you. There are also more controversial options out there. The use of medical ketamine and medical marijuana is rising rapidly in the USA. Speak to the specialists about whether this route might benefit you.

Living with chronic pain is possible is you learn to manage it correctly. What tricks do you use to soothe your pain?