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Pain Management: Exercise Replaces Rest and Relaxation

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

There’s LOTS of good, profound advice we all got from grandma, much of which, if we had listened to may have saved us lots of heartache and trouble. And, while many “old-fashioned” recipes are worth paying head to, there are some that need to be revisited and revised.

Among these how we treat minor and acute colds, aches and pains. The standard remedy for getting better was some hot soup and lots of rest. But, today, popular opinion has changed and exercise seems to have replaced rest and relaxation as the “celebrated” cure-all. In fact, more and more doctors and therapists are encouraging their patients to “get up and go”; go walking, hiking, biking, and more. And, many are suggesting that when it comes to pain, physical activity and exercise is not only good for you but helps reduce the aches and strains that ale you.

Experts recommend activities such as tai chi and yoga for those with arthritis pain, especially for those who type all day, helping them increase mobility and muscle strength that will also help reduce discomfort and pain.

Other recommended activities for those in pain include walking, stretching and in-and-out-of water/pool activities to build physical strength and ability.

However, those with (serious) lower back pains should have their routine customized and supervised, noting the need for individualized program based on personal needs and abilities, as well as the need for follow-up “care”. And, they add that even simple exercise strategies like getting out of bed and doing what you normally would when not feeling well has its merits.

They do caution however against continuing to exercise if you fail to feel better or experience any “side effects” such as headaches, often associated with certain activities such as swimming. If you have to take a painkiller and, if they persist, speak with your doctor.

Note that migraines may be the exception to the rule and may get worse with activity and movement, though some studies suggest that “mild” physical activity may help subside the pain.

Keep tabs on your body and how you feel and don’t push yourself or overdo it. Remember, the objective is to feel better not worse, so only do what you can

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