In addition to being supported by scientific evidence, I have seen the effects firsthand that exercise can have on pain reduction. Unfortunately, research continues to remain undecided in the exact mechanism to which exercise results in a reduction of pain. While there are several theories that aim to aid in our understanding, the one that seems to get the most traction relates to our bodies ability to produce a pain analgesic response (we create our own pain medication!).
Not only do our bodies produce their own pain medication (it’s free!), but through exercise and movement, we help to retain our understanding of pain. We have the ability to retrain our understanding of pain and how it affects our movement.
When we experience acute pain due to an injury, our body attempts to create its own cast by increasing blood flow and swelling to that area. The purpose of this initial swelling is to limit motion and prevent further damage to the tissues. With this swelling and potential tissue damage, we learn that particular movements are painful. If we don’t start to move or gain an understanding of our injury, we allow this stage of healing and decreased mobilization to go on for too long. We can continue to experience pain in the injured location as our brains' way of trying to limit further tissue damage; we are in fact learning pain. Despite our perception of pain, we are not increasing tissue damage, but continue to be averted from movement. This pain perception often leads to the consumption of pain medication; when in fact we do not actually have tissue damage!
As long as we re-introduce movement in a smart and controlled manner, not only can we experience a natural pain analgesic response, but we can increase our tissue strength, reduce swelling, and improve our range of motion. A deeper scientific understanding is beyond the scope of this article, but a better understanding is displayed by following this link.
At this point, it should be clear that I am a huge proponent to exercise. Not only is it easy to do, but it can be inexpensive, can be performed anywhere, and it doesn’t require continued doctor follow up or medication. Pain reduction can help to free up our time spent in doctor’s offices and allow us to enjoy our free time. If we experience less pain, we have increased earning potential with fewer days off of work and less money spent on medications. More time spent on things we love with increased money in our pockets allows our health to create wealth.
Brett Bousquet PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS
Brett Bousquet PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS is a certified sports residency trained physical therapist in Utah. Posts and blogs created by Brett on the Wealth Meet Health community are for informational purposes only and are not meant to take the place of your relationship with a health professional. For personal health considerations, please consult a health professional directly.
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