Sadly, many of us are learning to live with muscle and joint pain. When you are in pain, you unconsciously change the way you move to avoid the pain as much as possible. Sure, pain medication temporarily makes you feel better, but it doesn’t address WHY you are in pain in the first place. Left untreated, the problem can get worse.
Posture is probably THE most important factor in your treatment. The body was designed to work in a certain way, with everything in proper alignment. When something is not aligned properly, the surrounding area becomes compromised, potentially affecting the rest of the body long-term. These days, you don’t have to look far to find someone hunched over their phone, and it doesn’t take a trained eye to notice their poor posture. The resultant neck and shoulder stiffness are your body’s warning signs that it isn’t happy!
Your muscles quickly remember any kind of repeated movement or posture, so for successful treatment of pain, re-training them is essential. This takes persistence and patience, just like beginning a new fitness regime, and is well worth it in the long run.
Bodywork like massage, chiropractics, and physiotherapy are wonderful ways to reduce your pain and help you in this re-training process. These professionals can also assess your posture and give you personalised advice on what you need to do and how to do it.
Other things to consider include:
Repetitive movements – make sure you are doing them correctly and switch sides regularly to keep the strain on your body even.
Sleep position – try sleeping flat on your back without a pillow, or on your side with your ears, shoulders, and hips in one line, and a pillow supporting the gap between your shoulders and jaw (keep your head level i.e. not too high or low).
Move it or lose it! - move your muscles and joints through their full range of motion. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates, swimming, and dancing are some of the best ways to do this.
Bed rest is no longer prescribed for back pain - gentle movement below your pain threshold is key to recovery.
Get up regularly - if you are stuck at a desk all day, set an hourly reminder to stand up and move around (every 20-30mins is the ideal). Sitting is the new smoking!
If you suffer from muscle or joint pain, book in with me for a massage to begin your path to recovery. I can also assess whether nutritional or herbal support may of added be of benefit to you.
Photo credit: Pim Chu on Unsplash