Being Active is Not Easy
The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend people aged 18 to 64 exercise for at least 150 minutes over 5 sessions per week; and over 65 years, at least 30 minutes per day.
Great advice, but for those who have chronic injuries, it’s not so easy to exercise.
The difficulty with exercise for pain sufferers
The Guidelines cite some types of yoga or Pilates, resistance-band training or even high-intensity activities like cycling, dancing, gymnastics, climbing stairs or hills, or gardening that requires digging or lifting.
Climbing stairs, lifting, dancing, gymnastics or digging in the garden with a painful back or cramping legs won’t ring a positive bell for pain sufferers.
Pain means that exercise and even movement can be a challenge and the taxing nature of chronic pain is a big disincentive to exercise, let alone to the recommended level of activity. It can also have a direct impact on our ability to work.
Why do we need to exercise?
Regular exercise is important because it can reduce premature death by as much as 23% and cancer-related mortality by up to 31% (Stamatakis, E. et al. 2017).
Regular exercise also reduces the associated pain symptoms of chronic conditions such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass and strength) in older Australians—conditions that may limit functional capacity and increase the risk of falls (Seguin, R. & Nelson, M.E., 2003).
How you can start moving and exercising more
There are options apart from pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs that can help you become more active again, and which can help you build your activity into something more regular and substantive.
Freeing up muscles, improving mobility and reducing pain have always been the recognised functions and benefits of remedial massage and myotherapy administered by professional qualified therapists.
To ensure there are no serious underlying problems or illnesses, it is important to consult your doctor before seeking any remedial complementary health option.
Massage is not a cure, but it can help you become more active again. For example, the Opiod Management Team which presented Alternative options to codiene suggest that practitioners discuss non-pharmacological options including heat and massage among other complementary and allied health treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain.
Planning to be more active
As part of an integrated solution, the role of massage in ameliorating pain and fatigue, and hence in helping to promote recovery, makes it an important part of dealing with chronic conditions and working towards a more active lifestyle.
Modern science is yet to fully understand how massage works, but what we do know is that massage has been used for thousands of years by populations around the world to relax muscles, reduce tension and achieve relief from pain.
Help in finding a professional massage therapist or myotherapist
To find out more about massage you should visit Massage & Myotherapy Australia, the association for professional therapists.
To help you decide on where to start, you can learn more about remedial massage and myotherapy and the different approaches to massage from different countries around the world.
For people with low mobility, there are also solutions for your particular situation and professional therapists who will come to you if need be.
Professional therapists will employ massage and myotherapy techniques specific to your condition and pain such as deep tissue, remedial Bowen therapy, and massage for movement or postural integrity.
Importantly, massage and myotherapy can be adjusted for older people, sports people, or people who just want to remain active and continue doing the things they enjoy.
To find a professional therapist visit the Australian Massage Directory.