According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, chronic pain affects approximately 60 million people worldwide, and its occurrence is more frequent than that of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined.
This data is pretty daunting, considering that unlike acute pain, chronic aches can last for days, weeks and months on end and have a tendency of recurring over long intervals of time.
Sadly, few people afflicted by chronic pain take active steps to improve their condition: in most cases, efforts to counter pain are either short-lived or inconsistently invested in, as people are readier to accept a non-debilitating ailment as an occasional burden than set aside the time and energy each day to counter it in the long run.
If you are one of these folks, you can stop reading here – but if you are eager to get a move on and oust pain from your life for good, here you will find different exercises and activities that will help you strengthen muscles, improve posture and come out as a winner in the race for an ache-free life.
Walking can alleviate backache
Walking engages back muscles, the spine and lower limbs, enhancing flexibility, posture and muscle strength while at the same time promoting healing and the release of serotonin and endorphins, reducing blood pressure and alleviating pressing aches in the lower back.
According to a 2004 study published in The Spine Journal, walking can reduce lower back pain by as many as 10-50%, and regular walking sessions (either outdoors or on a treadmill) can minimize the likelihood of lower back pain recurrence.
In case you feel dizziness or acute pain during the walk, stop; if dizziness and pain persist, consider consulting a physician and running medical tests to identify the main cause behind your backache.
Water therapy can reduce muscle, joint and back pains
Water-based therapy promotes muscle strengthening and body toning in a safe environment with minimal risk of injury, and it also alleviates pressure and pains in the joints, muscles and back.
Aqua-jogging is often a part of rehabilitative regimens used to treat a range of conditions such as rheumatology diseases, cardio-respiratory diseases, and musculoskeletal diseases (as part of pre- and post-operative management treatment).
Aqua cycling is another water sport that promotes leg muscle strengthening and relieves back pain, while water yoga has exhibited positive effects on people with lower body musculoskeletal injuries, difficulties balancing, arthritis, sciatica, hip and/or knee replacements, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and Muscular Dystrophy.
Other water sports that promise relief with back and joint pains include swimming, walking in water and aqua aerobics.
Cycling can help counter joint pain
Arthritis involves the swelling, aching and inflammation of the joints, and the pain can become excruciating if combined with a previous limb injury.
To improve joint mobility, strengthen the quadriceps, thighs and buttocks, and alleviate chronic pain, try aqua spinning or cycling (either outdoors or on a stationary bike).
Light to moderate biking sessions can help reduce pain in knees, hips and ankles.
Cycling will also improve the function of your cardiovascular system and prevent or slow down arthritis development.
Tai chi can help counter back, neck and joint pains
Characterized by controlled breathing, a set of energy-channeling postures and slow, seamlessly connected flowing movements, tai chi promotes relaxation and muscle stretching, and it can also considerably reduce osteoarthritic and rheumatoid pains in the lower back, neck and joints.
Tai chi promotes focus, flexibility, and muscle mobility and strength, and it purges negativity from your system, which makes it an excellent exercise for people afflicted by chronic pain.
Yoga can diminish neck, joint and back pains
Yoga has various health benefits, ranging from increased focus, muscle strength, blood flow, bone health, posture and flexibility, reduced blood pressure and blood sugar to improved sleep, digestion and nervous system functioning.
Certain sources state that regular yoga workouts can significantly reduce migraine, pains in the neck, joints and back, as well as aches associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Pilates can reduce intensity of lower back pain
A recent study has established that pilates can significantly improve the condition and functional ability of people afflicted by chronic pain in the lower back compared to other physical exercise regimens.
A workout that relies on execution of precise, flowing movements, body centering, muscle control and controlled breathing, pilates promotes flexibility, muscle stretching and strengthening, as well as concentration, energy flow and tension release, which makes it ideal for older people with existing joint, neck and back conditions.
Some gym exercises can help with back, neck and muscle pain
Gym exercises targeting the main supporting muscles can considerably relieve back, knee and neck pain and enhance range of movement in critical parts of the body.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, consult your personal fitness trainer about exercises that can alleviate the pain and promote healing.
Exercises engaging back, pectoral and core muscles, glutealis, and obliques such as pelvic tilts, passive extension and mountain and sag are often recommended for acute lumbar and leg pain, while the recovery regimen targeting these areas usually involves passive and standing extensions, side bends and gliding, and gentle rotations.
Abdominal exercises, leg curls, squats and hamstring stretches can help prevent occurrence of back and leg pains, while passive extensions are an excellent deterrent to and remedy for chronic neck pains.
Got a nagging backache, sore joints or chronic neck pain?
Get up and do something about it – the cure for recurring pains lies in your muscles, and it is up to use your body properly if you do not want to lose your health.
About Our Author
Norah Martin is a newbie traveler with an ever-growing wishlist. She can be found on most days with pen and paper in hand (she is hopelessly outdated at times), jotting down her thoughts. She drinks excessive amounts of tea and raspberry juice, collects running shoes and would feel naked without nail polish. You can read more of her writings at High Style Life.