Exercise and relaxation can be good pain killers

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Pain is something we can feel, something that we feel on someone else’s behalf and something that we live with on a daily basis.

It can be a physical thing that takes control and stops us from functioning properly, or it can be an emotional pain which can cause us to feel anxious, depressed or to live with an underlying level of stress.

As I’ve written before, stress can come in many forms and long-term stress and unhappiness will cause weight gain and an inability to lose it, as well as inflammation and disease.

Therefore, it is very important to recognise what your stresses are and keep them under control as much as you can.

I love to do a little bit of meditation every day to help me focus, relax and sometimes to switch of completely, although I find that part very hard.

Back to the issue of pain. If you live with physical pain on a daily basis and you take pain killers regularly, then the chances are that you feel pretty rough, you don’t sleep very well, you struggle to get out of bed and you need help with getting dressed sometimes.

Even the smallest tasks become difficult and everyday enjoyment of life is compromised.

I saw this recently with one of my clients who had been trying to get back to more physical exercise in an attempt to lose weight and get toned up for her big day.

If you have tried having physical therapies and you’re still in pain, then maybe it is time to get along to the doctor and really get to the root of the cause.

However, pain can often be greatly helped with physical therapies such as remedial/ sports massage, acupuncture and osteopathy, backed up with some good rehab exercise. This can often be enough to get you on the road to recovery.

Simple, everyday activity like walking, swimming, gardening and dancing can ease some of the pain directly by blocking pain signals to the brain.

Activity also helps to stretch stiff and tense muscles, ligaments and joints, which can lessen pain.

It’s natural to be hesitant if exercise is painful and you’re worried about doing more damage.

But if you become more active gradually, it’s unlikely you will cause any damage or harm.

The pain you feel when you start gentle exercise is because the muscles and joints are getting fitter.

In the long term, the benefits of exercise far outweigh any increase in discomfort.

Also, if you avoid exercise completely, the lack of activity could lead to other problems like stiff joints, weight gain, heart disease, osteoporosis, poor balance and falls.

Practise breathing correctly, as when the pain is intense it’s very easy to start taking shallow, rapid breaths which can make you feel dizzy, anxious and panicked.

Instead, breathe slowly and deeply.

This can be done while lying in bed and it is also a great way to be mindful of your breathing.

Start first by placing your hands on your belly and filling your lungs with air, expanding the belly as you breathe in and letting your hands move back together as you breathe back out.

Do this for a count of 10 and then move your hands to your rib cage and feel your ribs lift up and open as you inhale.

Then feel them gently move back together as you exhale again.

Do this for at least 10 breaths longer if you can as this will help you relax and the pain will begin to become less.

Next week I will tell you a story about emotional pain and give you some tips to help with this. In the meantime, if you would like any more information about physical therapies then follow this link http://www.fab-body-fitness.co.uk/sports-massage/

Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps in Fareham where she trains groups. Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a UK Hypo-presive Method Trainer. She helps people master a fitness technique that targets the core. Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1