While chronic pain is an unfortunate widespread issue in the U.S., what you may not know is the exact reason why you are experiencing the pain.
It is easy to drown out pain or to medicate to temporarily alleviate the symptoms. However, going this route can create many long-term health problems, which can also cost you in financially, physically, and emotionally in the long-run.
Below are three common mistakes to avoid when needing to heal from chronic pain:
Poor posture is harmful to your body. This is especially true when it comes to poor posture in the sitting position as this can be detrimental to your lungs and abdominal organs.
When your lungs are compressed, it makes it difficult to breathe. Your body should be taking normal deep diaphragmatic breaths, which can only occur when you have proper posture while sitting.
When your body is slouched while sitting, this creates a short breathing pattern using your upper chest. And when this happens, it makes it difficult to take a deep breath, which encourages you to keep making your posture get worse over time.
Also, when your abdominal organs are compressed with a poor slouched posture, your internal organs like your stomach and your liver get very tight, and they don’t move very well. And when they don’t move, these internal organs don’t communicate freely and become restricted, and that’s when the pain starts.
Believe it or not, but 75% of all physician visits are stress related. Whether its money, work, family responsibilities or health concerns, chronic stress can lead to a slew of long-term health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Lung ailments
- Cirrhosis of the liver
Don’t try and drown out your stress by picking up unhealthy habits, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, or overloading on caffeine.
Also, avoid prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications, if you can. Certain drugs, specifically anxiety drugs and anti-depressants, can result in several side effects, which can include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty thinking
- Weight loss or gain
- Heart problems
- Decreased sex drive
You may be tempted to eat poorly when you are stressed. This can also lead to long-term health issues.
What happens inside your body when you have too much stress?
Too much stress causes inflammation and congestion in your body. And when this happens, the tissues don’t move freely.
This ties into cranial sacral therapy (CST) and visceral manipulation therapy treatment options to help improve your overall tissue mobility and decrease inflammation.
CST is a type of manual therapy designed to release fascial restrictions in the body that helps to eliminate stress, strengthen resistance to disease, and improves your overall health.
Visceral manipulation therapy, on the other hand, works through your body’s visceral system – the heart, liver, intestines, and other internal organs – to locate and alleviate normal lines of tension throughout your body.
The third mistake people make is not getting enough exercise. Exercise is vital for improving overall aerobic function, core strength, mental clarity and more.
Exercising is also a healthier approach to take to help you deal with stress as endorphins are released helping you feel better.
Yoga is a good practice for improving your strength and flexibility, breathing and posture. And when yoga is combined with mindful meditation, you can decrease stress, and enhance your brain’s capacity for perception and awareness in the present state.
If you are thinking of getting into an anaerobic or aerobic endurance workout, then try and do these exercises outdoors to get some fresh air and sunlight. Research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that a boost in Vitamin D from sunlight can help you elevate your feel-good levels of serotonin.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please be sure to subscribe below to receive our bi-weekly newsletter chock-full of tips to help you live and be healthier.
Marge Kalfon is the founder of PT by Marge and is a licensed physical therapist in Virginia. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 1992. Since then, she has practiced in a wide variety of settings ranging from large hospitals to small private practices. She has extensive training and experience in a wide variety of manual therapy techniques as well as orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation.