Pain is a signal that our body gives us when something is wrong. Physical pain is broken down into two types. Acute pain comes from some kind of trauma to the body such as a skinned knee or a broken bone. We know where it hurts and why. Acute pain goes away with the healing process.
Then there is chronic pain. It can be long lasting and persistent. It is frustrating because often the cause of the pain is nowhere near the area where the pain is felt. Some types of back pain are a good example of chronic pain. I have experienced this myself. In the past when my back “acted up” I would stop moving, ice the sore area and pop some pain relief pills. I would seek out medical attention if it went on too long. Inevitably my back would feel better but I would carry around the thought that I had a bad back and I had to be careful about my activities. I don’t know about you, but I hate living in fear.
I’ve changed my approach to chronic pain. I’ve come to realize that movement is the best medicine. I believe that no one has the ability to know your body better than you do. Moving your body (safely) on a regular basis in as many different directions as it can go will give you the information you need to take care of it and/or assist health professionals cure you in less time. Information is a wonderful thing.
The average Canadian sits for 10 hours per day. That means we are experts in knowing how we feel while we’re sitting. That is the problem. If you’re sitting as you reading this article, stand up right now. Take a moment to assess how you feel while you’re standing. Do your feet hurt? How about your legs? Your back? Shoulders? Neck? Lift your arms up over your head. Pay attention to whether you can straighten your arms or not and how that feels. If you feel any tightness or discomfort in any of the movements you just did then doing these movements (carefully) regularly is exactly what you need to be doing.
Chronic pain is often caused by our bodies being out of alignment in some way. In the case of my “bad back” I now know that it comes on when the muscles in my legs and buttock become too tight. That tends to happen when I do a lot of cycling and then spend too much time sitting around. It feels like the muscles seize up and restrict the natural movement in the rest of my body. Bending over to tie my shoes can cause a huge amount of pain if I’m not careful. To avoid this I’ve added many movements to my day such as squats, lunges and bear walks. My entire body is much happier as long as I continue to make those movements part of my daily routine.
Get yourself moving with the goal of ridding yourself of chronic pain. It is worth the investment of your time and energy.
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