Chronic pain is something many of us know about. I myself have been dealing with chronic sciatica for the last 24 years and counting. This along with endometriosis and iliac crest pain some days make me wonder why I should start moving. However, the question we must ask ourselves is how we are going to let our chronic pain define us. Personally, I have taken it as a challenge and push myself to do things such as snorkeling, tubing, biking for 36 miles at a time, and climbing to the tops of mountains. One of the biggest challenges when one is faced with pain is to try and keep moving. By moving we keep our muscles strong so that we can support the joints and nerves that may be in distress.
Over 1.5 billion people in the world suffer from chronic pain according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, of that, 3-5% suffer from neuropathic pain. For those of us who suffer, there are a few natural ways that we can help alleviate some of this pain. Acupuncture and seeing a chiropractor are great ways to help relieve some of the pain that you may be experiencing, also, I like to take turmeric and fish oil on a daily basis to help with the inflammation. However, I find the best way to deal with my chronic pain is to exercise on a regular basis. I exercise 5 days a week with bonus exercise on the weekends of walks and bike rides. My exercise is composed of aerobics, weight training and stretching those areas that provide me with the most pain. For anyone wishing to start an exercise program, my recommendation is to start slowly and pick those activities that help you the most with dealing with your particular pain. Yoga, Pilates, walking, any type of movement is going to help you begin to lessen the pain that you might be feeling. Not only will exercise help your joints, but it increases the endorphin levels in your brain. Endorphins are the feel good chemicals naturally produced by the brain during times of exercise and stress; they are the natural opiates of the body. Thus, when we exercise, we create more of this stress and pain reducing hormone making us tolerate pain better. This is not to say that we will not have any pain, we just won’t feel it as intensely as if we had not exercised.
The point is to just get moving. Take short walks, invest in some exercise equipment, start swimming, whatever works best for you. If you need more ideas, please do not hesitate to call or stop in to talk to me more about ways to help you reduce your pain.
Remember; don’t let pain define you as not being able to live life to the fullest. Get moving, keep moving and soon you will reach the summit of being able to experience life to the fullest at every age.