By definition chronic pain is pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. (clevelandclinic.org) Chronic pain can have both physical and emotional effects on a person. According to the CDC, 1 out of 5 Americans or about 50 million people suffer from chronic pain. About 8% of those people suffer from pain that interferes with their daily lives.
Chances are that you or someone you know, suffers from chronic pain. The treatments for chronic pain are as diverse as the causes, which can include arthritis, back pain, cancer, fibromyalgia pain, or nerve pain. A defense mechanism of the body to avoid pain is to just lay around and do nothing. If we avoid movements that cause pain, than avoiding movement altogether, in theory, means less pain. However, “although resting for short periods can alleviate pain, too much rest may actually increase pain and put you at greater risk of injury when you again attempt movement. Research has shown that regular exercise can diminish pain in the long term by improving muscle tone, strength, and flexibility.” (webmd.com). It’s no surprise that as a personal trainer, I am a huge advocate of exercise. Sometimes, though, I fear that people have the wrong idea of what is exercise. You were created to move. Your body has a lot of moving parts – joints. In order for a joint to move, a muscle contraction must occur. Exercise is simply making the muscles and joints do what they were created to do – move; adding some resistance so that the muscles and joints can function at a level above your normal activities of daily living is beneficial. For example, the biceps job is to bend the elbow. So, how do we work the biceps? We bend the elbow and can add either a dumbbell, a resistance band, or hold anything with some weight and simply contract the biceps muscles to bend the elbow, a.k.a. a biceps curl. Simple, right? That’s literally how you exercise every joint and every muscle in the body. You let them perform their natural jobs. Exercise instructors and personal trainers try and use creativity to keep classes fun and interesting; but at the end of the day, the elbow bends when the biceps contracts.
If you suffer from chronic pain, I know you don’t feel like moving, but in the long run, movement can bring improvement. Exercise is also known to release endorphins, which are hormones released by the brain and nervous system. These hormones can have an analgesic effect, so they are sometimes called the body’s natural pain medicine. The best recommendation for exercise is to find something you enjoy and get moving!
Some other pain treatments include herbal remedies, physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, and prescription pain medications. I’ve recently been introduced to the health benefits of CBD and joined Green Compass as an Independent Advocate. CBD is not a cure for any medical diagnosis. What I’m learning about CBD is that people are experiencing relief of symptoms with many different issues to include headaches, pain, sleep problems, and the list goes on. In the 1990s researches discovered the endocannabinoid system while studying THC – a type of cannabinoid. The endocannabinoid system consists of receptors that are found throughout our bodies. CBD is another cannabinoid and unlike THC, it does not cause a feeling of euphoria. Please watch the following short video to learn more about Green Compass and how CBD works in your body and the endocannabinoid system.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, please seek help for relief. Before beginning an exercise program or trying CBD, please consult your physician. If you’re interested in learning more about Green Compass and its products, please visit my Facebook page.
Happy Moving – Jennifer