Many of us live in pain. There are an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide who currently suffer from some type of chronic pain. Our bodies, much like our cars, need to be cared for in order for function to be restored; the good news is that maintenance can be easier than we think.
When it comes to pain management, many allopathic doctors are quick to prescribe either pain pills or injections. In some cases, this treatment may certainly be warranted. However, if we are able to catch a problem before it becomes chronic, we can save ourselves from a significant amount of pain and accumulated problems. Pills and injections will usually target the painful region, but that area may not actually be the root problem. Sometimes pain is an expression of overcompensation or a symptom of a problem elsewhere in the body. For example, hip and knee pain can often be traced back to improper back/pelvic alignment. Sometimes by changing what we are doing or not doing, we can change the pain. Incorporating proper movements, stretching and maintenance techniques should be viewed as “pre-hab”. By changing our viewpoint, the goal is to prevent a breakdown within our bodies rather than rehabilitate from one.
Stretch, Roll and Massage
Are we stretching? That is question one, but we also need to ask ourselves if we are stretching correctly. Many people who stretch actually end up becoming tighter because they are unaware of the proper techniques and application of stretching rules.
Foam rolling or self-massage work can be helpful for those suffering from tension that threatens to become pain. Trigger points, or “knots”, form in the muscles from over-use, over-compensation, injuries or trauma to the area, general tightness, and a variety of other reasons. Self-massage therapy is imperative to cleaning up these knots and releasing the tension. When these knots form, they actually restrict the muscles from working correctly.
The joints are designed with very specific movements and are meant to function optimally. They are held together and encased within the joint capsule, which consists of strong ligaments and surrounding tendons and fascia. Joint mobilization techniques are designed to restore proper range of motion to joints and clean up the joint capsule in order to provide better function.
Foundational and functional movements are another must-have. As we get older, we stop moving in certain patterns; our bodies adapt to what we do. They also adapt to what we don’t do. So if we neglect certain movements, our bodies will lose the ability to perform them easily. When it comes to movement, that old adage, “use it or lose it,” certainly applies. It’s time to be accountable and responsible for our own bodies.