The Causes and Solutions to Chronic Pain
Let’s face it. Pain sucks.
Yet most pain can be our ally instead of a foe. It can tell us about our bodies, about our nervous systems, about our levels of inflammation, and about the stories that we hold in our bodies.
The causes of chronic pain can also point toward the solutions.
Dr. Marissa went LIVE on November 29th, 2023 to take you through how understanding chronic back, neck, hip, or knee pain can help you heal it.
Watch the full recording if you want the details, and check below for the root causes of chronic musculoskeletal pain.
#1: Not enough movement during the day
Pain sometimes starts with an injury….and sometimes doesn’t. No matter the cause, achy joints, stiff muscles and nerve pain are WORSENED, not made better by sedentary lifestyles. Your joints, muscles, and nerves NEED movement to get rid of their waste products and bring in new nutrients. Exercise is anti-inflammatory if properly dosed, which naturally helps to relieve pain, while sedentary time is pro-inflammatory.
Try not to fall into the trap of thinking that avoiding movement will fix a chronic pain issue, it is more likely to make your tissues weaker, more sensitive to pain, and reduce your ability to handle day-to-day activities without flare-ups.
Solution: Break up sitting with movement about every hour. Find any type of exercise that works for you (even walking) and perform 20-30 min daily to gain the anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise. Slowly start to add gentle exercise for the body part that hurts.
#2: Not giving your body what it needs to repair and recover
It’s easy to forget that our bodies actually have incredible self-healing capacities. But there are a few non-negotiables to ensure that our bodies have what they need to self-repair. Two of the most important are sleep and nutrition. Sleep not only is the time when our bodies produce hormones and cellular processes to repair themselves, but it also can directly turn down the volume on pain.
Don’t forget that pain is interpreted and produced by our nervous system, so when you are stressed out and under-slept, your nervous system is more likely to turn the pain volume up.
Solution: Quiet your nervous system with relaxation practices throughout the day and 8-9 hours of sleep opportunity each night
Nutrition is another key factor in quieting chronic pain. What we eat directly impacts the levels of inflammation in our bodies and affects pain levels through the interactions with our gut microbes. Further, to heal injuries, our bodies need certain raw materials, such as proteins and healthy fats to repair muscles and tendons. Without these, we recover more slowly not only from injury, but from the daily wear and tear on our bodies.
Solution: Eat a high fiber diet with loads of anti-inflammatory compounds (lots of plants!). Include healthy fats and protein at every meal.
#3: Not training your mind to access calm.
Remember how we mentioned that pain is interpreted by and produced by our nervous system? Because of this, it may not be surprising that stress and trauma can aggravate back pain, neck pain, knee pain, headaches, you name it. However, training your mind to quiet your nervous system and therefore quiet PAIN is possible in as little as 10 minutes per day!
There are many ways to accomplish this- meditation, yoga, relaxation practices, quiet breathing, or even prayer can all help your system wind down and improve pain levels.
Solution: Commit to a relaxation or meditation practice 10 minutes per day. Pay attention to sensations that feel painful and focus on relaxing the muscles around that area.
Remember, your self care and your health are your competitive advantage, granting you improved energy, longevity, and ability to calmly handle the hard hits that come with any career.
How to dive deeper?
At Movement Rx, we are in the business of creating teams that lead and work better from a place of wellbeing.
Sign up for our FREE webinar training: Be Well to Lead Well: Proven Ways to Juggle Life and Leadership in this Increasingly Chaotic World on December 13, 2023 at 11a MT so you can lead YOURSELF first, in life, and in leadership.
This training is tailor-made for business leaders and owners, fellow veterans or not, to learn how to take back control of your time and re-focus on what’s ACTUALLY important to you. You’ll uncover your blind spots and explore how prioritizing your OWN well-being can positively impact your health, family, AND business.