What Are the Best Options for Managing Chronic Pain?

More than 20 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 50 million people, are trying to manage chronic pain. More than 20 million of them have what is known as “high-impact pain” where the pain is so severe, it can limit everything from activities of daily living to exercise to going to work. These estimates are from the Centers of Disease Control and the National Interview Survey that looked at the health of more than 30,000 adults.

Let’s begin by first taking a look at the differences between acute and chronic pain. According to Medicinenet.com

“Acute pain is of sudden onset and is usually the result of a clearly defined cause such as an injury. Acute pain resolves with the healing of its underlying cause. Chronic pain persists for weeks or months and is usually associated with an underlying condition, such as arthritis. The severity of chronic pain can be mild, moderate, or severe.”

Medicine.net

It seems that everyone you talk with these days is dealing with some form of chronic pain. From those that I’ve spoken to, three areas of the body seem to be most prominent: the low back, knees and shoulder area. It also seems that each individual has their own way of trying to manage their chronic pain.

Case Study: Managing Chronic Pain

Over the past few months I’ve known a few people who were diagnosed with various stress injuries. Each resulting from either exercise or a repetitive movement. No one in this group had ever broken a bone or experienced any type stress fracture in their life…until now. As a result, their gait was thrown off and their body became severely de-conditioned over time. The body is an amazing organism. When we have an injury, the body tries to compensate in order to function. Each individual tried to maintain some type of basic exercise routine as best they could. For example, one friend tried to maintain her fitness level by biking outdoors for about 30-75 minutes 3-4 times a week. They had a stress fracture in one of their toes that they were dealing with.

As a result of an injury, it’s easy to start popping medications in order to alleviate the pain. Chronic pain can take its toll not only physically but mentally as well. It’s also easy to try different alternative therapies because you’re trying to be proactive. Different therapies, like massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and even regular exercise and yoga may help. The issue, however, is they don’t address the root cause of the pain. Why did the injury happen in the first place? What is the mechanism hiding behind the injury? Different specialist will give you varying reasons why this has happened to you. Some will not even offer you that much insight, just try to treat it. They treat the symptom(s), again, not the root cause.

Myofascial Therapy Can Help Manage Chronic Pain

A few friends found that myofascial therapy worked really well. This is typically performed by someone like a physical therapist who has had additional training working with fascia. They are trained to address the issues not with various modalities but manually (i.e. using their hands) helping to release tight fascia (connective tissue) around the injured area.

One person found that the Egoscue Method worked really well. This method was founded by anatomical physiologist, Pete Egoscue, decades ago. He built a great reputation helping famous golfers get out of pain. It involves a full digital assessment followed up with specific bodyweight only exercises to address the issue and realign the spine and body. He has a great book, which I’ve read and recommend often, called Pain Free on Amazon.

This was one of the first therapies that offered me, when I was previously injured, an idea of why my injury occurred in the first place. For me it was all about finding that mechanism that caused the injury in the first place. I was then able to address it, and begin to work on specific exercises to – in my case, realign the spine and hips – eventually getting me back to a healthy (posture) baseline. My job is to now work on those specific, daily, movements (i.e. prehab) in order to prevent this from happening again.

Additional Modalities for Managing Chronic Pain

Massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, cryotherapy, flotation tank, chiropractic, yoga, foam rolling and even exercise can all help. Each modality is beneficial and has a place at the table in managing chronic pain. I have personally tried each of them and, to some extent, they all work albeit temporarily. When trying to relieve chronic pain, it’s best to have a trained therapist observe your standing posture, and how you move. Remember, if you have movement competency issues – and most of us do – you need to work on addressing those issues first. Otherwise, you may end up spending a great deal of money and investing a lot of your time without ever eliminating the pain and finding the answer to why it ever happened in the first place.

Hopefully the advice in this article is something you can use if or when needed. Don’t get comfortable taking medication or trying different therapies just because that’s what you’ve done in the past or someone recommended you give it a try. Question everything, think out of the box, be your own advocate and first and foremost, determine the root cause of the pain.

Jefit Elite Can Record & Track Your Injury History

Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

4 Things to Watch with Your Body Post Workout

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When you’re working out, you can push yourself, at times, well beyond your comfort zone. After all, who ever got fit by feeling a little bit of discomfort, and then throwing in the towel, right? There are a few things, however, your body may be trying to tell either during or after a work out. It is important to always pay attention to how you feel during and after a given workout. If you don’t, you may not catch the early warning signs of a potential injury. If you want to know what your body may be telling you post workout, read on!

Persistent Pain

A common misconception about working out is that pain is just a sign that you’re overloading your muscles. You may be thinking you’re pushing your body adequately in order to make it stronger. Most people don’t believe that there is anything wrong with this. Some think the “no pain, no gain” adage is the correct mentality. Meaning, an overwhelming sense of pain in your body, will ultimately produce gains in strength and size.

The issue, though, could be you’re doing harm to your body, and you should never ignore these signs. A bit of aching and muscle fatigue is pretty normal after exercise. A stabbing pain, however, is certainly not, so don’t underestimate how important this may be. Even if the pain passes after a while, it is a good idea to get it checked out by your physician before it becomes persistent.

This is also important if you have any underlying health issues, such as heart problems. If you start to experience pain in your chest, don’t just keep it to yourself, and know what the heart attack symptoms in men and women are. You’ll be glad that you educated yourself on what could go wrong, in case anything ever actually arise post workout.

You Feel Dizzy When Working Out

Another warning sign of a potential issue when you are working out is dizziness. If you’re feeling light-headed and dazed when you’re exercising, this may not a good sign. There are many things that could be causing your dizziness, such as hypoglycemia, but it’s also important to know when you actually need to take the plunge, and go and see a doctor.

Sometimes, you may be dizzy just because you’ve been moving around a lot, and it has thrown you off balance a bit. You’ll know if this is the case, because this will usually pass pretty quickly. It can also be caused by holding your breath for prolonged periods of time, as the lack of oxygen to your brain can also throw you off a little.

However, you can experience light-headedness and dizziness because you’re pushing yourself too hard in a workout, and your body just can’t cope with it. Your brain may not be able to get oxygen fast enough, and whilst this isn’t a health issue in small doses, it can present some risks. Know when to stop, and don’t ignore dizziness especially during or post workout.

You’re Not Sleeping Well

While this is not something that may not present itself as an issue when you’re actually working out, you may want to ask yourself whether your sleeping patterns have changed since you started hitting the gym. Insomnia is one of your body’s ways of telling you that something is up, so don’t ignore it if it’s happens.

Your insomnia could be caused by an increase in cortisol, which is a direct result of exercising. While the hormone cortisol can be a good thing, it’s also associated with other issues, too. When cortisol levels start to rise at night, they can increase the chances of you waking up more, or not sleeping at all.

One way to avoid these issues is to ensure that you don’t work out too late at night, but the main thing to avoid is workouts where you’re doing too much, for too long. If you’re exercising at a level that is simply too intense, your sleeping may be affected. Know when to stop, for the sake of catching those important zzz’s.

Nervous System on Overload

This is worth reading into if you’re a science lover, but basically, too much intense exercise, and/or stress, can negatively effect your sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your body that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response. Keeping this in balance is key, so don’t push yourself harder than you need to, and always keep an eye on your mental and physical health.

If you’re unsure about anything that your body is telling you post workout, go and see a healthcare professional, sooner rather than later, and you’ll be glad you did this, if for nothing else, it will put your mind at rest!

Use Jefit to Monitor Your Body & Workouts

Jefit app, named best app for 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Causes of Back Pain as Explained by Orthopedic Surgeon

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Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. Back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the United States. While many of us think of slipped and herniated discs as the many causes of back pain, there are other lesser known causes of back pain. Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo is an NYC area spinal and orthopedic surgeon who explains how less obvious culprits can affect the back. He is the head of The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care and is Board-certified and fellowship-trained. Dr. Okubadejo specializes in the treatment of degenerative spinal disease, spinal deformity, and cervical, lumbar, and thoracic conditions. Here are eight causes of back pain that are not as well known according to Dr. Gbolahan, who is also the developer of 360CoreBoard.

Causes of Back Pain: Kidney Stones

Kidney conditions may cause back pain because the kidneys are located toward the back of your body at the level of your mid-back. Kidney stones are small pieces of calcium that form in the kidney. Many people have kidney stones and are never aware of them, as they are small enough to be passed with urination. However, larger kidney stones that grow in size over time can cause excruciating pain as the body tries to work the stone out of the narrow ureter
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to as “brittle bone disease,” in that increased bone weakness over time leaves bones more susceptible to breaking. You may think of osteoporosis as something that happens to older women. It is true that osteoporosis is most common in older women, but men may have osteoporosis as well. As the bones lose density, or mass, they become weak and more likely to break. The bones of your lower back might break even without any obvious injury, causing lower back pain.
Stress
When you’re stressed, your breathing patterns change and cause strain and tension in the mid-back. Your shoulders hunch up and cause pain throughout the upper and middle back. Low-back pain includes the tailbone and lower half of the back muscles. These muscles affect flexibility and posture.
Sedentary Lifestyles
Many of us spend a lot of our waking hours on our behinds thanks to jobs that have us in front of computers all day. But unfortunately, such a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of chronic low back pain. The answer is to stretch and get moving!

Additional Causes of Back Pain: Poor Posture

Poor posture can either cause lower back pain or make it worse. This doesn’t only mean slouching or slumping at your desk; poor posture could also include leaning on one leg while you stand, or walking with your bottom so far out you have an arch in your lower back. While these postures aren’t inherently “poor” for a moment in time, maintaining these positions for prolonged periods can increase the strain on the muscles and ligaments around the lumbar spine.
Excess Body Weight
Every extra pound adds strain to back muscles and ligaments. Over time, the spine can become tilted and develop an unnatural curvature. Research has shown that obesity poses more than a mechanical stressor on joints: excess body fat also produces chemicals that contribute to joint damage.
Lesser Known Causes of Back Pain: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome is that dull, persistent, crampy, achy pain in, under, and around your sacrum (the area of your back between your hips). PMS-related back pain is a visceral pain — one that comes from a body organ (your uterus) instead of from one of the structures of the back. As your uterus cramps, the pain is referred to your back, and you can have back cramps.
Pregnancy
Lower back pain is one of the many common discomforts of pregnancy. As the weight and size of your baby (and your belly) increase, there is a tendency to tilt the pelvis forward, exaggerating the curve of the lumbar spine. This posture, called lordosis, puts strain on the lower back muscles and may even cause impingement of the sciatic nerve (sciatica). Pregnancy-related back pain can be relieved by strengthening core muscles, maintaining proper posture, and wearing an abdominal support garment meant for use in pregnancy.

Back pain can show up in many different areas of the body. Hopefully these eight lesser known causes can lend a better understanding to those who are dealing with acute or chronic back pain. Stay strong with Jefit!
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