As I begin to compose this blog on Physical therapy, I think to myself, where do I begin? What can I say to the reader that will not only be informative, but also help to improve their quality of life? The one common theme for every age group that was equally divided between genders, was pain.
Pain falls under two main categories; Acute and Chronic. Acute pain following surgery is to be expected. I mean, a surgeon just operated on you which is tantamount to carpentry work. Having said that, surgical procedures can have long-lasting pain and discomfort. Any pain lasting longer than two months is referred to as, chronic. In these situations, a Physical Therapist’s key role is to alleviate pain and restore a patient’s functional mobility post-surgical intervention.
So, you might be thinking. . .how could someone avoid pain after surgery? You just mentioned it was normal to have pain. You’re right. But, there’s more to it than that. Someone who has surgery will have pain, but long-lasting or chronic pain can be limited or avoided all together. What if I were to tell you one of the main causes of pain can be prevented and that we have complete control over it?
Here’s a hint. It’s one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions made at the start of every year. I’m going to lose weight this year. It really is something that we have total control over, yet find excuses not to implement into our daily lives.
DIET AND EXERCISE
As obesity rates continue to rise in the United States, and with our advancements in technology, we’ve seen a rise in people living sedentary lifestyles. It’s hard to scroll Facebook and Instagram while you’re running on a treadmill, after all. You might be thinking: what does obesity or relaxing on the couch have to do with pain? Isn’t watching television and playing computer games safer than lifting weights and jogging?
A surprising statistic that many people aren’t aware of is that for each pound of excess weight above the waist, translates into four pounds of pressure, or stress, on the knees. To put this in perspective for you, a gallon of milk weighs eight-pounds. So, if you have ten-pounds of excess weight above the waist, you’re looking at forty-pounds of pressure and stress on your knees. Have you tried to lift forty-pounds? It’s not easy. In fact, many people report lifting that amount of weight one time actually hurts their knees, low-back, and shoulders. Can you imagine lifting that much weight with every step you take?
In other words, excess weight can cause pain.
According to a study published in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, appropriate nutritional interventions may be one of the most useful tools doctors have to improve overall health outcomes in their patients and specifically reduce inflammation.
Under a doctor’s care you may be referred to therapy for pain management. Your physical and occupational therapist can instruct you in therapeutic interventions to limit or even prevent pain. Thus, improving your overall strength and functional mobility. Through improved nutrition and other simple dietary strategies, coupled with lifestyle changes that can contribute to weight loss.
In other words: it’ll have you feeling better and increase your quality of life.