The best ways that movement can help your pain

Pain medication is often the only method of pain relief that people use. But, are you aware of how movement and exercise can be helpful too? Read on as we take a look at the importance of mobility when it comes to pain relief and what you can do to get moving.

Why should you keep moving?

How can movement help in your pain relief programme? Not only can movement provide relief from your symptoms, but it can also improve function. Improving function in this way has been found to reduce disability, lower feelings of depression and improve someone’s physical condition and quality of life. When it comes to a person’s wellbeing, exercise can help regulate sleep patterns and reduce stress levels. It’s clear to see that movement is not only about losing weight or keeping fit — it’s also crucial for a range of other things.

Exercises to add to your programme

The following exercises are recommended to pain sufferers to manage pain and build strength:

Pilates

What type of exercise is Pilates? Different to yoga, it is usually performed as a flow of movement rather than static exercises.

Even if you don’t exercise regularly, Pilates is something that you can give a try. This type of exercise is not too strenuous, in fact, Pilates is a low-impact exercise that is either carried out on a mat or using special equipment. Specialised apparatus can help resistance if you want to build muscle. Alternatively, the apparatus can be used to support someone with back pain to allow them to do certain movements. The performed exercises focus on improving your flexibility, strength and body awareness by working with your abdominal core muscles.

Are there many advantages to this exercise? Pilates has been found to relieve individuals of back pain and practitioners of the form say that the exercise improves posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility. In addition to this, it works with your body to relieve stress and tension.

You can even to Pilates at work with desk exercises. Find examples of these online, they’re all about controlled breathing and strengthening different muscle groups.

Yoga

When pain sufferers have been monitored, it has been that yoga can help with issues such as back pain.

It’s also been determined that there are significant differences between the brains of those who experienced chronic pain and the brains of those who regularly practised yoga. Researchers found that the sufferers of chronic pain had less of the kind of brain tissue in the regions that help us tolerate pain. On the other hand, those who did yoga had more of this brain tissue.

If you experience occasional soreness or long-lasting aches, yoga could help. This is through practising certain postures that lengthen the spine, improve alignment, and stretch and strengthen the muscles.

What about pain relief for arthritis? Stretching in the right way can release built-up tension and eliminate some discomfort. If you want to use yoga for this sort of relief, gentle yoga is what you should focus on, as more strenuous styles could cause damage. Always ask what sort of class it is before you sign up.

Practise specific poses that will suit your body and needs. The ‘extended child’s pose’, for example, lengthens the sides of the body whilst providing traction on the spine. And, the ‘cobra’ is all about stretching and strengthening the spine.

Pain relief isn’t the only benefit of yoga. These include lowered heart rate and blood pressure and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is another pain management technique which involves the use of water to help with exercises and strength building.

Hydrotherapy is very varied, you should undertake an exercise that helps your pain specifically. They range from easy routines that are carried out in shallow water, to the use of high-tech equipment such as underwater treadmills. The presence of the water counteracts gravity and helps support the person’s weight, making them feel lighter and able to move more freely. When it comes to those who suffer from back pain, the water is able to minimise the axial load (weight on the spine) and allow them to do exercises that they may not be able to do on land. The viscosity in water also creates a resistance which allows people to do muscle strengthening exercises without a risk of further injury through loss of balance — something that they may not have been able to do on land, either.

Specifically, people who are suffering from the following conditions are referred for hydrotherapy: osteoarthritis, advanced osteoporosis and those with muscle strain or tears. Each person’s water therapy programme is different, some pain sufferers do solely water therapy exercises and others use a combination of land-based and water-based exercises to manage their pain or rehabilitate.

Bear in mind that there are other exercises that can help too. Speak to your GP about which exercises will be best for your pain management needs and keep active to improve your overall wellbeing.