Do you have pain from an old injury that has just never completely gone away?
Do you find that your pain stops you from doing things in daily life?
Do you avoid certain movements due to being worried it will aggravate your pain?
What if I told you that doing movements that are slightly painful could actually reduce your pain levels?
Pain persisting longer than three months is considered to be chronic pain and is something that affects 1 in 5 Australians. It is a complex condition affecting a person’s emotional and social wellbeing, coupled commonly with fears of movement and increases in pain.
Activity levels are significantly lower in those with chronic pain, with an increased fear of movement associated with the least amount of regular exercise. Insufficient levels of physical activity are the fourth leading cause of preventable deaths (heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancers) annually world wide.
So, if you’re in pain and afraid of movement, how can you exercise and optimise your health in a way that you know is safe and beneficial for you?
Recent evidence has emerged stating that there are significant benefits exercising into pain over pain-free exercises for reducing chronic pain in patients. Why? Firstly, it addresses your fears of both movement and increases in pain, allowing you to increase your activity levels. It can also facilitate your body’s release of natural pain killers… who knew you could do that?!
An important thing to know is that pain is a warning signal sent by the brain, not your body, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that injury has occurred.
Let’s say you have avoided bending forwards for the past few years because you’re worried it will give you pain. If one day you attempt to bend forwards, there are pressure, stretch and movement direction signals being sent by your body to the brain saying “hey, we haven’t experienced this in a long time … is this okay?”. Your brain then may send a pain signal in an attempt to keep you safe, despite no injury occurring. If this movement is repeated in a safe and controlled way, eventually your brain will become accustomed to it and the level of pain will decrease.
So next time you’re moving and you feel a mild amount of pain, consider if it is a movement that you are fearful of, or avoid. If it is, persist within your limits and give your brain a chance to adapt.
If you suffer from chronic pain and would like to be guided through a safe exercise program with one of our Physiotherapists, please contact us on 8555 4099 or BOOK ONLINE.