Low grade pain is something we take for granted and learned to live with everyday. Waking up stiff or cramping up at night become ordinary as our body adapts to these sensations. Most people attribute any joint aches and pains as part of getting old. However, pain and aging concept does not seem to agree when it happens to a 35 year old mother of 3 that hurts day in and day out for no apparent reason. She continues to perform her work as a teacher and carry out motherly duties despite the discomforts she goes through everyday. The pains were never enough anyway to slow her down and when it gets worse, popping a pain pill stops it temporarily. Runners endure pain in exchange of the rewards of feeling good from the sport and will continue to run in pain. Some exercise enthusiasts still believe in the adage: “No Pain, No Gain”. Everyone has their own unique excuses for not trying to fix their little pains. Too busy perhaps? People only end up in the emergency room when the pain becomes too severe and intractable.
These constant to intermittent nags, aches and pains can be a factor to why we are grouchy, easily fatigued and never feeling one hundred percent healthy. Ignoring and adapting to these things can eventually become a serious threat to the body. The intermittent life long dependency on pain pills has its side effects. The nervous system and its intricate web of nerve endings becomes hypersensitive. Brain and nerve sensitization means being in a heightened state and it takes very little stimulation to provoke the pain. It can even self-reproduce the pain sensations without being aggravated by your activities. A chronic low back pain is a sensitized state and pain occurs without rhyme or reason. Depression and low vitality results from the everyday aches. Our attitude in life becomes negative and this is being reflected by a slumped posture or even weight gain. Is it possible that we could eat our pain away?
The longer the pain is present in the body, the harder it is to get rid of. The good news is that it is reversible. There are steps to get to the bottom and uncover the “why” you are hurting. A simple start is improving the posture and determine what positions or movements trigger the pain. Proper back support when sitting or driving and proper standing with good supportive shoes can help. Sleeping posture using a towel roll in the small curve of your neck and pillows under the knees or between the knees can ease the stiffness in the morning. Walking and any change of posture from a sedentary activity prevents your body from straining further. Learn how to stretch neck, chest and low back muscles to improve the physical balance of the body. If stress is an underlying factor to your pain, practice diaphragmatic breathing and learn how to meditate. You can download free apps on your phone about meditation with guided ones available. Proper lifting using your lower abdominals and bending slightly from the knees and hips is a good practice. If you really want to eliminate these niggly pains, the best approach will be to schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist. The right physical therapist can provide you proper instructions, education, diagnosis regarding your musculoskeletal issues and individualized expert solutions to your discomforts.
People sometimes feel silly when they come in to complain of minor aches and pains. Do not feel bad and realize you are making the best decision for long term good health. Prevention is key against accelerated wear and tear in the body. Attending to the little discomforts stops them from becoming major ones which might be sooner than you expect it to. Be proactive and start living a better life free from discomforts you don’t have to to live with.