Could Rest Make Pain Worse
We were made to move – and what an incredible gift that can be!
From hiking with friends to swimming until dusk on those long summer days to working up a good sweat at the gym, movement can be an amazing outlet for our minds and bodies.
However, it can be easy to fall into less-than-active patterns, AKA sedentary tendencies. While we may have the best of intentions of scheduling exercise into our day, between busy schedules and desk-related jobs, movement can quickly get placed on the back-burner. Short or temporary breaks aren’t an issue, but when we don’t use our capacity for movement for weeks on end, it turns into months, then years— and our bodies begin to change as a result...and not in a good way. Health issues may become a concern and new pains begin to emerge.
The good news? The very thing you’re missing is also the key to your cure: movement! Let’s first understand what causes pain and how sedentary lifestyles contribute to your aches.
Where Does Pain Come From?
Let’s talk about pain. Did you know, pain exists first and foremost in the brain? You see, our bodies are hardwired to alert our brain of sensations or injuries in other areas of our bodies. For example, if you put your hand on a hot stove, your extremity sends a signal to your brain, which then tells your body to move your hand before inflicting further damage. That messenger is pain. It really is nothing short of incredible when you pause to think about how quickly these impulses travel and how they protect us! To restate it another way, pain = information.
Acute Pain vs. Chronic Pain
Let’s dive a little deeper now. There is a distinct difference between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is instant, usually sharp, shooting, or stabbing in nature, and is relatively short-term.
Chronic pain, on the other hand, happens over time, and is usually described as dull, achy, and nagging. It compounds over a period of time and just doesn’t go away or get better. Many people who suffer from chronic pain don’t associate it with a specific injury.
But, there is a completely accessible, virtually free cure for both acute and chronic pain patterns. You guessed it...movement!
How Movement Can Interrupt Pain Signals
Many pain cycles actually sprout from a lack of movement. If you’re not consistently utilizing your body’s active tools, your muscles and tissues tend to decondition. We lose muscle, mobility, and even bone mass from a lack of activity! When this perpetuates over time, it can become a serious issue and lead to both acute and chronic pain.
But get this: the act of simple movement can actually overcome pain signals in the brain.
Let that sink in. Pain that is caused by a lack of movement can actually be treated with movement? Yes, it can be that simple!
Of course, if you’re experiencing pain, before starting any exercise program, it’s imperative to consult with a medical professional to accurately diagnose your symptoms and clear you for activity. Once you have a medical professional’s blessing, here are some basic tools to keep in mind when reintroducing movement back into your life.
Mobility is a gentle, but super effective way to incorporate movement into your life, and is a good starting point. Oftentimes, we don’t realize that we have become immobile until we place an emphasis on moving our bodies.
Keep in mind, that all mobility exercises should be performed within pain-free limits of motion. If pain begins to crop up, use this as an indicator to back off, or move on to a different exercise.
Strength And Balance
When we say strength, we’re not asking you to do bench presses at the gym. There are many simple strength exercises that can be done from the comfort of your own home that help maintain and build muscle mass. Bodyweight squats and lunges are great examples!
Similarly, honing in on balance not only contributes to strengthening your muscles, but also helps prevent future injury. By improving balance, coordination, and strengthening your stabilizer muscles, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to adapt and react quickly, without injury.
The Role Of Chiropractic Care In Pain Treatment
Chiropractic care in general is a great way to stay on top of overall health and wellness, but can be invaluable when treating a pain cycle. The gentle adjustments of the neck, spine, and extremities help to realign the body and provide relief to the entire system. These adjustments also serve to decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, combat pain signals, and ultimately allow the entire body and immune system to communicate and function better.
Additionally, a practitioner can specifically address aches and pains as they crop up to get to the root of the problem, while you work on getting more movement back in your life. This can prove to be an incredibly valuable piece of support as you work on consistently staying active.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.