Why exercise should be your treatment of choice.
Pain. It can be unpleasant. It’s awful. It’s YUCK! Yet, it also protects you and alerts you to danger. Your hand touches a hot stove and all the nerve endings in your body send a signal straight to the brain which tells you “HOT, HOT, HOT!” and your hand jerks away from the stove. Fascinating isn’t it? Then pain is unusual. How many times have you heard of people having cancer that was undetected? Or you can’t remember how you hurt yourself because you do the same movements’ day in and day out.
A simple way to explaining pain is that it occurs when your body’s system tells your brain of potential/actual tissue damage. However the bigger picture is like looking out at a boat on the calm bay. There is a lot keeping the boat there and moving and a lot going on under the surface of the water influencing the boat.
It is often very difficult to work out how much of a person’s pain is caused by an injury or caused by “non-tissue related factors” like depression and anxiety. Prolonged pain can see an increase in the latter factors which then drive the cycle of disability and pain. Exercise Physiologists can help educate you about your condition and provide you with an individualised program. Sometimes, you may need a combined treatment approach involving a number of Allied Health Professionals (i.e. GP, Pain Specialist, Psychologist, etc.)
Becoming more active is important when managing pain. Exercise will allow your body (and its structures) to receive the nutrients required to be healthy. It lubricates joints, making them glide easier and it even builds muscles, preventing fatigue associated with pain. Exercise is fantastic as it produces its own “pain-relieving” medication (like endorphins) – better than what any doctor can prescribe – that promote relaxation and improvements in mood.
Angelique’s Top Tips:
– Choose something you enjoy. I love swimming and find that it is super relaxing being in the water!
– You will feel some discomfort when you first begin exercising, this is normal.
– Start slowly: aim for 2-3x/week for as little as 15mins. This might just mean a slow walk up and down the street!
– Come and see me at St George Health for a consultation.
For more information:
Chronic Pain Australia: www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au
Pain Australia: www.painaustralia.org.au
Exercise is Medicine Australia: www.exerciseismedicine.org.au