I see many patients who have recurring pain – they get fixed up, then it comes back again. It’s particularly common in the back, but also affects knees, shoulders and other joints. It’s the kind of niggling pain that doesn’t have a particular cause – but it’s there in the background. I tell most of them they need to do some exercise for pain relief!
Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong, and niggling pain is the body’s way of telling us we need to make some lifestyle changes – both large and small. If we pay attention, and take care of our body when it tells us to, we can hopefully avoid pain crises.
Our bodies are amazing – but they really weren’t designed to spend the day sitting at a desk or in a car. When our ‘core’ isn’t functioning properly other muscles take over and compensate. That moves our whole body out of balance, and that’s when chronic pain often sets in.
A friend of mine is a personal trainer who focuses on muscle building and weight loss, and has been rather dismissive of exercise like Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong because you don’t get the dramatic results. Recently he came to a class with me just to ‘try it out’ – he’s quite fit, but the demands placed on his internal muscles by this ‘gentle exercise’ left him gasping.
I often tell my patients that healing is as much about what you do between visits, as well as the session that I provide in the clinic. We are all tempted to settle for less than 100% pain free, but consistent stretching and exercise can prepare our bodies for a lot of things that come along.
Regular exercise that strengthens your core, protects you from injury, and improves your posture, can help keep pain away and increase your sense of well-being.