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Pain and Physical Activity


News flash!  80% of the population has or will suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s), the most common is lower back pain. A big part of that group will visit a doctor. Hopefully getting an answer for their pain. And you know what? They will. Analgesic treatment including pain killers, anti-inflammatory medication, followed by CT scans are the common answers.

And what are they going to find in that CT scan? Possibly a bulging disc (maybe more than one), degeneration or disc herniation. In fact, what most people don’t know is that a person that has no pain at all, can have the same CT results as the person in pain. Interestingly, findings do not always reflect a person’s physical state or be directly related to the amount of pain they feel. Sometimes, preforming a CT scan and receiving these alarming diagnoses can make things worse!

What can we do to make sure that kink in your back does not become a chink in your armor? How can treatment be different?

P-r-e-v-e-n-t-i-o-n, prevention is the key. Research shows that physical activity, on a regular basis, helps decrease the risks which lead to MSD’s and back pain.

The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity throughout the week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity for Adults aged 18–64.

Image by Ana Krach from Pixabay

Aerobic activity should be in bouts of at least 10 minutes. For additional health benefits, moderate aerobic physical activity should be increased to 300 minutes per week, or 150 minutes of vigorous activity. Muscle-strengthening activities involving major muscle groups should be done 2 or more days a week. These recommendations are relevant to all healthy adults, including individuals with chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. The best way to make exercise a lifestyle is to spread the total recommended time throughout the week, for example:  30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking, 5 times per week.

Still, we know that life doesn’t always “allow” us to exercise on a daily basis, but there is a lot we can do in order to reduce a sedentary lifestyle; try not to sit too long, don’t take the elevator – use the stairs, drink water often – using smaller glasses, ride a (non-electrical) bicycle instead of taking the bus, try to stand during work as much as you can and if you can’t – try to change sitting postures throughout your work day.


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