Saturday, August 28, 2010

Got Pain? Get Moving!

The article linked below is worth a full read, but the excerpts that follow relate most directly to exercise and pain.  Exercise is also preventive for depression - thus, to me the treatments for depression are not as important as the fact that exercise is in and of itself a means to having a better life experience.

Another thought - as you read this article, think of the previous posts you've seen about the connection between joint pain and mental dis-function and wheat consumption.  What if many the patients described in this piece could be treated effectively simply through wheat restriction?   Dr. Weston Price, in his fascinating book describing his thoughts on studying many paleolithic peoples, considered mental disorders a function of the mal-nutrition inherent in the western world. 

"Everyone experiences pain at some point, but for those with depression or anxiety, pain can become particularly intense and hard to treat. People suffering from depression, for example, tend to experience more severe and long-lasting pain than other people.
The overlap of anxiety, depression, and pain is particularly evident in chronic and sometimes disabling pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, low back pain, headaches, and nerve pain. Psychiatric disorders not only contribute to pain intensity but also to increased risk of disability.
Researchers once thought the relationship between pain, anxiety, and depression resulted mainly from psychological rather than biological factors. Chronic pain is depressing, and likewise major depression may feel physically painful. But as researchers have learned more about how the brain works, and how the nervous system interacts with other parts of the body, they have discovered that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.
Treatment is challenging when pain overlaps with anxiety or depression. Focus on pain can mask both the clinician's and patient's awareness that a psychiatric disorder is also present. Even when both types of problems are correctly diagnosed, they can be difficult to treat.

Exercise. There's an abundance of research that regular physical activity boosts mood and alleviates anxiety, but less evidence about its impact on pain.
The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 34 studies that compared exercise interventions with various control conditions in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The reviewers concluded that aerobic exercise, performed at the intensity recommended for maintaining heart and respiratory fitness, improved overall well-being and physical function in patients with fibromyalgia, and might alleviate pain. More limited evidence suggests that exercises designed to build muscle strength, such as lifting weights, might also improve pain, overall functioning, and mood.

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