Exercise Guidelines for Chronic Pain
Dr. Grant Burrows, Osteopath and Fellow of Applied Functional Science sheds an enlightening perspective on pain.
He explains that most pain is associated with tissue damage. The spinal cord acts as a transmitter to convey information from the tissues to the brain. Things such as inflammation and other “noise” can quickly overtake the competing information conveyed by our proprioceptors – the body’s system that detects and interprets movement. In the case of chronic pain, the brain starts to hear more noise and less proprioception, creating a disconnect between the brain and tissues.
Burrows describes it like this: “Think of the noise requiring square receptors and the proprioceptors requiring circles. By moving the body in ways that the body does not associate pain, that are highly variable and fun, you can disrupt the pain cycle as you create a greater need for circle receptors and lesser need for squares.”
Whether you are searching for ways to reduce arthritis, low-back, or a nagging knee pain or hip pain. Or perhaps looking for better ways to effectively manage fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis pain. There is an answer. For reasons explained in my previous blog, Benefits of Water Exercise, just being in water is a great start. Next step: Design better exercise programs.
Treat Chronic Pain with Exercise that Follows 3 Guidelines:
- Move in a range that feels good: This approach applies if you are exercising on land or in the pool. It is appropriate for low-impact walking or high intensity intervals. It’s simple. Find a range that is comfortable. If a movement hurts, make is smaller or use less impact.
- Move the Body in 6 directions: Burrows expressed the need for highly variable exercises. One way to help ensure each joint is moved in all ways that are natural is to move the body in 6 directions. Try an arm curl or squat with the feet positioned in 6 different positions – right foot forward, left foot forward, wide, narrow, toes turned out and toes turned in. Click here for a visual demonstration of the different foot positions.
- Make it fun: The aquatic environment makes this easy. While you may not be turning cartwheels on land, buoyancy makes it easy to hop, skip and jump in the pool. Even us big kids enjoy some fun pool toys – like a Nekdoodle®, ball or noodle to mix up the routine.
Burrows teaches us that the body has the ability to stop the pain cycle and reboot. However, exercise must follow a few simple guidelines. Contrary to exercise status quo which is simple, repetitive and boring, interrupting an unwanted pain cycle requires movement that is pain free, highly variable and fun.
WECOACH wants to help you move and feel better. It focuses on moves that are natural for the body and has been proven to strengthen weakness and strengthen and unify the body as a whole. Our program offers both land exercises and water exercises. Regardless of your fitness level, you will find a program suited for your needs.
Thanks for reading,