Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

No pain, no gain? You may want to rethink that…..

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Have people called you stoic? Are you proud of your high pain threshold? Do you pride yourself on avoiding calling the doctor even when you’ve been in pain for a while? If so, You may want to rethink your modus operandi. Although I share some of those traits, a new study looks at the risks of this type of behavior, especially among older adults.

Most of us accept that aches, pains and some discomfort are normal aspects of aging. We don’t bounce back as fast after injury, we feel stiffer in the morning and may even have body parts we weren’t born with, such as an ACL, hip or knee replacement. However, ongoing pain, especially if it interferes with daily living activities is a signal we shouldn’t ignore. This study looked at the negative secondary effects of pain, such as avoiding social activities and becoming more sedentary with the ultimate effects often resulting in weight gain and overall debilitation.

This article covers the kind of pain that has an underlying pathology.  Pay attention to the signs your body is giving you and try to get to the root of the pain.  Alert your doc about what you’re feeling, so you can get appropriate treatment and stay active and functioning at your optimal level. Check out more details at the following website.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/the-perils-of-toughing-it-out/

There are many conditions where non-invasive measures with no side effects can help. Examples are…  you guessed it- exercise along with massage, chiropractic work, yoga, water aerobics, and meditation which can all play a major role in pain reduction.  Exercise works on muscle strengthening and targeting weaknesses which may cause imbalances that are often at the root of pain. Pain is also caused by cortisol that pours into your system when you feel chronic stress. Doesn’t it make sense to take time to regulate your body’s reactions through consistent routines that calm and energize you?  Often, people come to my studio or a class in a very stressed state (hopefully not attributable to what they’re about to do!) and after some strenuous exercise feel much more relaxed, invigorated and ready to deal with whatever the world sends their way. This next article examines some common and naturally healthy ways to decrease pain.

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436269,00.html

Often people ask me when they’re exercising if they should feel aches or pain in their muscles. It’s important to differentiate between muscles “working” and muscles hurting. If you feel any sharp or radiating pain in your joints or muscles, stop what you’re doing, decrease the amount of weight and repetitions and take more frequent breaks. If you feel fatigue, that’s expected and is a sign you’re challenging yourself and likely  increasing muscle strength and endurance. If you feel a dull ache and it subsides as soon as you stop lifting it’s usually fine as well. If you feel some soreness (DOMS- delayed onset muscle soreness) that lasts a few days after a workout, that’s OK too, and is a sign that you’re positively challenging your body  and changing your muscle fibers.

So there you have it- you can be more in control of your pain level, but it may take some time, expertise and careful attention to symptoms. You may find new techniques and activities that diminish the pain improve your sense of wellbeing. Onward toward spring and more sunlight!

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