Exercising Your Way Out of Chronic Pain
A lot of people think that dealing with chronic pain requires a lot of expensive medication and frequent visits to pain specialists. It doesn’t have to be that way, because something as simple as exercising may help alleviate your chronic pain complaints.
Generally speaking, chronic pain is pain that lasts for three months or longer. The most commonly reported cases of chronic pain are that of the back and the neck muscles. The neck is important in keeping the head in place and holding it up. Our back, on the other hand, is the so-called “workhorse” of our body. It carries the burden of the entire body and is responsible for almost every move we make. And because of the important functions these muscle groups carry, they are more prone to straining.
What are possible causes of Neck and Back pain?
Studies have shown that some chronic neck and back pain may be caused by these common reasons:
Muscle strain. Overuse of the neck muscles and improper posture may cause muscle fatigue, and eventually, neck and/or back strain.
Arthritis. The neck joint is no different from any other joint in the body, it also deteriorates with age and acquires arthritis.
Disk disorders. Any disorder related to the disk in between the vertebraes may cause neck pain.
Injury. Injuries that may cause over-stretching of the soft tissues of the neck and back may cause chronic pain.
The cheapest and simplest way to relieve your self of chronic muscle pain is to exercise. Exercise has been noted to help with a lot of condition, from treating depression to improving memory retention. Exercise takes out the possible risks from being inactive for a long while. It also increases the benefits of being active.
The body’s muscles, including the heart, lose its strength and start working less effectively when the body has been inactive for quite a long while. You place yourself at high risk of getting high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or diabetes. Lack of physical activity also increases fatigue, stress and anxiety. Lack of exercise makes the body lose its conditioning, therefore contribute more to chronic pain.
It is understandable that it is difficult to get started with an exercise program, especially if you are currently experiencing chronic pain. However a little sacrifice is necessary to ensure pain relief. Here are some of the benefits you may get from exercising:
It signals your body to produce and release endorphins. Endorphins block pain impulses from reaching pain receptors in the brain. They also generate a feeling of well-being, alleviating anxiety and depression.
It helps build strength. The more exercise you do, the stronger your muscles will be. And the stronger your muscles become, the more force and load it takes off your bones and cartilages – less stress, less pain.
It helps increase flexibility. When joints are able to move their full range of motion, they are less likely to feel aches and pains.
It helps improve sleep quality. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins that give a sense of well-being, and it lowers the release of stress hormones, resulting in a better, more restful sleep.
A lot of people are afraid to address their chronic neck and back pain concerns in fear of spending a lot on medicines and consultation fees. Because of this fear they tend to overlook the simplest and easiest way to alleviate themselves of this burden – exercising. A simple walk around the block or a 15 minute bicycle ride may seem to show no immediate effect, but you’ll be glad you did it in the long run.