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28 Tue

Exercise can block out back pain

Exercise can block out back pain

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

Yet another article about back pain and exercise.  I’ve written about this before.  But this one also touches on a point that I’ve gone over with many of my patients:  pain can change the way your body experiences your world.  An article from NPR talks about how people get no relief of back pain from medications or surgery, and that some of them actually get worse after surgery. They found that exercise can actually block out back pain.

People who have chronic pain, pain that is on-going for many months or years, undergo certain changes in their nervous system that alter how they ‘feel’ all sensations.  Dr. James Rainville of New England Baptist Hospital in Boston puts it this way, “Normal sensations of touch, sensations produced by movements, are translated by the nervous system into a pain message. That process is what drives people completely crazy who have back pain, because so many things produce discomfort.”

I’ve dealt with many patients who have back pain, for so long that they become victims of their pain, they become afraid to move or try anything because of this central nervous system change, they change their life, their routine, their movement.  The NPR article goes on to talk about how a back pain “boot camp” changed some people’s back pain.  They were able to initiate movement that once was painful and reduce or ignore their pain when it occurred.

Pain can be caused by many factors, it can be a signal that there is some injury to the body or something is going wrong, but for some chronic back pain patients, it can just be a false alarm.  Physiotherapists can help, as movement specialists, we can interpret and decipher the signals that the body goes through and help people find out what’s “good” pain or “bad”pain, or what’s a false signal.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

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