Strategies for managing pain

Written by;  Brenton Watson (AEP)  Accredited Exercise Physiologist

The experience of aches and pains within muscles and joints is common among all of us. Various things may cause these issues, including altered biomechanics, an increase in training load, performing a new or unaccustomed activity, or even lifestyle factors such as  lack of sleep, stress or anxiety.

Whether this pain is a new occurrence or a flare up of an ongoing chronic issue, the management is often similar.

Here are a few tips on how to manage your pain:

  1. Don’t stress! It’s okay! Pain is a normal body response when it feels threatened. It’s our body’s alarm system that warns us if there is POTENTIAL danger. This is important because pain doesn’t necessarily equal damage to our tissues (bones, muscles, ligaments etc.). It’s just our body warning us to slow down, not that we are damaged or broken.
  2. Avoid complete rest. Lack of movement and exercise is often the worst thing you can do. This can lead to a downward spiral of de-conditioning (loss of fitness and strength) that can be more detrimental in the long run. Finding an activity that suits you and avoids aggravating your pain is key. This could be walking, swimming, a modified gym program, some gentle stretches or self massage. Motion is lotion!
  3. Seek advice from your Accredited Exercise Physiologist. There’s usually no need to cancel a session if you are in pain. In fact this can be the most beneficial time to come and visit us at Inspire Fitness. We can help give you a modified program to ensure your pain is not aggravated, and you remain active. We can also help you get to the bottom of the cause of this flare up, and then give you appropriate advice on how to avoid these things happening in the future. We can teach you new exercises that may help strengthen appropriate muscles to better prepare your body for the demands of everyday life. We can give you self management techniques such as stretches, self massage, strengthening exercises, activity modifications or postural modifications to make sure you have the ability to take control of your pain independently in the future.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Pain can affect any of us at any time. Take control, stay active, seek professional advice if needed, and you’ll be back to 100% before you know it!