Managing Muscle and Joint Pain

If you use your body in any way, and all of us do, at some point you are going to have muscle and joint pain. Muscles get tired and overused. We have been using our muscles all day, every day since we were born. Even when you are sleeping, you are using your muscles. While you sleep, your autonomic nervous system is controlling and contracting your muscles to keep you breathing and keep your heart pumping; to keep you alive.

Your muscles can get overused and achy from starting a new exercise routine, doing an activity you are not used to doing, from doing an activity repetitively, or from arthritis, to name a few reasons why.

I commonly see people who sit in front of a desk all day and the repetitive issues associated with the prolonged sitting. Most people think that if you are sitting then you are not using your muscles and therefore not irritating them. This is wrong. While you are sitting you are using muscles to keep your body upright. You are using shoulder muscles to keep you arm in the right place while you type. You are using rotator cuff muscles to control your arm while using the mouse.

The muscles in the front of your hips also get tight and irritated while sitting. The muscles in your low back and back of your hips get stretched out and irritated over time. Sitting causes a whole host of problems, not only affecting your muscular system but also making you more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gaining weight. Sitting alone can cause neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, low back, hip, leg, knee, ankle and foot pain.

Sitting is just one example of how repetitive issues can affect our bodies and our muscles. There are many other repetitive motions throughout our lives that can cause our muscles to tighten up slowly over time until they get so tight that they tear on a microscopic level. Once the muscles tear, they establish a neurological pathway between the muscles and the spinal cord, called a reflex arc. This reflex arc keeps the muscles in a state of spasm and inflammation, sometimes for months or even years.

Osteo-arthritis, or any type of arthritis, can irritate your muscles. An arthritic joint is inflamed and irritated. The motion of the arthritic joint is going to be thrown off because the joint is not functioning the way it was designed to. This imbalance will irritate the surrounding muscles. The surrounding muscles will also work harder to stabilize the unstable and irritated joint, which will further irritate the muscles, causing the muscles to become part of the issue.

What can you do to manage muscle aches, pains, strains, and sprains? By far the best way is to exercise and stretch. Prevention is the best approach. If you can prevent a muscle from becoming injured in the first place, then you won’t have to deal with the muscle getting injured. The stronger a muscle is, the better it will be able to deal with the demands of daily life. The stronger the muscles are the more endurance they will have throughout the day. The looser a muscle is the less likely it will be to tighten up to the point that it will become torn and sprained.

You just have to do the right exercises. The exercises I have included in the pain-free lifestyle program are specifically chosen to be easy on your body. These exercises will strengthen up the larger muscle groups that provide stability throughout the day. The program will strengthen up your functional muscles. These are the muscles that will catch you when you trip. These muscles will support your shoulders and back will sitting at a computer all day. If you can strengthen up your functional muscles, they will provide stability which will increase your balance and allow you freedom and activity, and ideally prevent injuries.

Even if you do everything right though, eventually you will pull or sprain a muscle. When this happens, back off from your activity. Don’t try to work through the pain. Pain is your body’s self protective mechanism, listen to it. When you injure a muscle, it becomes inflamed. Ice and ibuprofen (or some type of anti-inflammatory) are the best approach. Do not use heat. Heat will temporarily loosed up an injured muscle, but in the long run it will increase the inflammation and cause the issue to linger, if not get worse. Light stretching will help out as well. Try to loosed up the muscle a little and then follow it with ice. But don’t stretch too hard, otherwise you can further injure the area. When stretching, take the muscle to the point of feeling the stretch and hold it there. Don’t force it and don’t bounce.

Muscle pulls and sprains and strains can easily be as painful as breaking a bone. Whenever you injure yourself, start out treating with ice and ibuprofen, and you will help out the issue. Don’t go right for heat.

I have attached an article about how to manage muscle pain. If you are going to exercise, it is good to know how to deal with muscle pulls.



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