4 Important Things You Need to Help Decrease Your Pain and Recover From Injury.
Nutrition * Sleep * Stress Management * Movement
If you are suffering from low back pain, neck pain or pain in anywhere in your body, it is imperative to work on 4 different factors to help your body heal. It is easy to blame the pain solely on our muscles, tendons or joints, however your pain can be attributed to other factors such as sleep, nutrition, stress and lack of movement. Our bodies heal better and faster when we address all of these factors together.
I’ve had many patients with recurrent pain who have told me they don’t sleep, all they do is work, and they really don’t focus on proper nutrition. You can go to physical therapy as long as you want, but if you neglect the other areas of your health you will only get so far.
Why is Nutrition so important?
Nutrition- Our muscles need to be fueled with the appropriate nutrients to function optimally. They also need to be hydrated and provided with electrolytes. It is recommended to drink at least half gallon to 1 gallon of water a day depending on your activity level and body weight. Having a well balanced diet, choosing foods grown from the ground versus processed are just examples of how to make better choices. Staying hydrated will help with muscle recovery and prevent muscle cramping.
Sleep is something most Americans do not get enough of. Sleep is the time where our body and mind can rest. It is critical to both our health and healing process. Studies show that people who struggle to get proper sleep at night are more susceptible to issues such as weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, weakened immune system an even anxiety and depression. The CDC recommends the average adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep. If you are in the process of addressing your low back pain or neck pain, do not take your sleeping habits lightly. Just as if you were told to rest when you have a cold, sleep helps your muscles and joints heal and feel better.
Stress Management: Often times people with recurrent or chronic pain tend to have other stressors in life. Whether it is work related, financial, family, relationships, or feelings of being burnt out. Stress plays a huge role in our physical health. In fact stress is one of the number one causes for disease. If you are in physical therapy for back or neck pain and you have trouble relaxing during your day, you will hold all that tension in your muscles. It is common to keep stress related tension in your shoulders and neck which often contributes to headaches, limited mobility and pain.
A good way to start to manage your stress is to work on deep breathing and meditation. Daily meditation helps significantly with stress and is a much better option then a pill!
And of course last but not least…
Movement is imperative for healing! Our bodies are meant to move not to be sedentary. So for those who have a desk job or drive a car, try to make it a habit to get up every hour to stand, stretch and walk. If you have pain- your physical therapist will teach you the safest exercises to start getting your body use to movement again. But laying down in bed for 24 hours should never be prescribed when trying to recover from musculoskeletal related pain. And in general- EXERCISE DAILY. Whether this is a 20-30 minute walk, a yoga class, strength training or running and cycling. Just keep moving. In fact, those who regularly exercise tend to sleep better and deal with stress better compared to those who are sedentary.
Whether you are in physical therapy or not, working on these 4 important factors of health will lead you to feeling better, more energized and happy. If you have been going to physical therapy or seeing a Chiropractor for months and months and your symptoms haven’t really changed, perhaps you are missing something discussed above. At Restore Physical Therapy, your therapist will treat all of you and get your whole story! We will do everything we can to get you moving in the right direction for optimal healing and overall well-being.
Call us today to schedule a free phone consultation or discovery session at 401-250-3060.