7 Tips For Relieving Aches And Pains
Aches and pains…Could it be that you’re just getting older or that you’re less active, perhaps? Maybe it’s just a temporary phase in your life. You’ll grow out of it, right? The truth is, aches and pains are often associated with daily, ongoing, habitual mistakes. Take note of the word habitual – habits are key to understanding precisely why we experience certain discomforts during the day. If you’re one of the millions of people that are too sedentary and sit too much, it’s time to retrace your steps and reprogram your habits in order to avoid daily discomfort.
A sedentary lifestyle or even working at a desk job can not only be stressful because of the immense responsibility afforded that style of work, but also because of the physical pressure that type of daily routine places on the body. What type of daily routine? A sedentary routine!
Often, for example, a desk job is underscored by a vigorous 9-5 schedule. As you may know, that schedule leaves very little time for you to take note of your body and your habits. More often than not, you’re probably stuck in traffic on your way to work, you’re slightly late, you’ve possibly missed breakfast, you work right into lunch, and then you rush home for dinner with the family. Granted, not all your days look like this, but on average this might be what you deal with on a daily basis. Basically, it leaves no time for you to really take of yourself.
It comes as no surprise that you’re suffering from daily aches and pains from neck and low back pain to stiff knees, plantar fasciitis, and a host of more serious illnesses (such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes). Constant and chronic sitting in the car, at the desk, at home, watching television or using electronic devices and during meals impacts your health greatly.
Furthermore, an unhealthy diet might be spurring on the discomfort. Even worse, you may not be drinking as much fluids as you should be, or maybe you’re substituting water with coffee. All these things add up. Our bodies are not made to withstand bad habits for too long!
However, the good news is that things can change. It may seem impossible right now, but take a look at just some of the ways in which you can change your daily routine for the better.
How can you relieve your aches and pains?
(1) Make Time in the Morning
We know that getting up may be tough, but the early hours of the morning really do give you the best chance to lay a powerful foundation for the day. Take just 20 minutes after you get up to be silent, stretch, drink a cup of herbal tea, meditate or even read. Make that time yours, and the habits you create thereafter will be healthier and fruitful.
(2) Take a Look at your Transportation
How far from work do you live? Do you have to drive? Could you challenge yourself to ride your bike? Any form of exercise you can incorporate into your day is a massive step towards relieving pain. The more you move, the better you feel. If you can avoid the traffic and the hours of sitting in the car, you’ll notice an amazing difference right away.
(3) Drink Water
Throughout your day, it’s vital that you note how much water you’re drinking. If your joints and muscles aren’t lubricated, you’ll experience pain. Why not set yourself little reminders? Drink 8 oz. of water on the hour, ever hour, for example. Ultimately, you need to drink about 10 cups a day – challenge yourself to meet that goal.
And while we’re on the subject of water, why not meld two habits into one? Every time you drink some water, get up, walk around, and stretch a bit. In this way, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Walk to the water cooler, for example. Or if you’re adventurous, why not head to the kitchen and create a water-based drink with lemon or strawberries? Again, movement is vital, and the more you move, the faster you’ll heal. Daily walking is also an excellent way to help insure your blood sugar and insulin levels remain balanced which is the key to avoiding diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
(5) Posture Matters
When you’re sitting, it’s very important that you take note of your posture. Slouching or sitting with an unsupported lower back will eventually lead to pain. If you’re working, make sure your desk isn’t too low and that your computer screen is at eye level. This can help to prevent slouching and forward head movements–both of which could lead to problems in the future. Also, why not stretch every 20 minutes? Change positions frequently. Sitting for more than 2 hours at a time increases your risk of a cardiovascular related event as much as smoking does!
(6) Healthy Eating
All too often we assume that what we do is most important. While this might hold some truth, what we eat is equally as vital. The food you consume fuels your brain and body, so the better you eat the more productive and healthy you will be. And not only that, food heals. Eating more anti-inflammatory foods, healthy snacks, dark greens, nuts, and seeds, will help you relieve those aches and pain much sooner. Be sure to start with a healthy breakfast and to continue with your snacking, lunch and dinner in the same way. Be sure to include adequate amounts of protein while avoiding sugary foods. Also, cut out some of the caffeine if you can – it can lead to anxiety and stress, both of which contribute to pain.
(7) Get some Sunshine
Unfortunately, most desk jobs or a sedentary lifestyle rarely come with too much time spent outside. Why not get outside and eat your lunch in a park? Or, better still, take a little stroll and explore the area around you? Getting some vital Vitamin D naturally is imperative for a healthy body and mind. You’ll also find that the sunshine vitamin helps improve your mood, thereby making the decision to create better habits that much easier!
A sedentary lifestyle is a ticket to old-age. Instead, chose to age well by changing your habits for the better. By utilizing your time and noting the needs of your body, you really can make serious headway into getting rid of those aches and pains while generally improving your health status. Make your habits count in order to age well!
Written by: Ben Shatto
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Ben Shatto, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS. Ben is a physical therapist and Administrator for Signature Healthcare – home of House Calls, Home Health, Palliative and Hospice Care as well as the founder and editor of the website www.thePhysicalTherapyAdvisor.com. His website is dedicated to help proactive adults of all ages to understand how to safely self-treat and manage common musculoskeletal, neurological, and mobility related conditions in a timely manner so they can reach their optimal health.
On behalf of Smart Strategies for Successful Living, our sincerest appreciation goes to Ben Shatto for his contribution to our community website and commitment to the success of older adults.