When someone comes to us in pain, there’s one thing we almost always tell them they need to do… And usually they look at us as if we have 3 heads!
Like a lot of what we say, it goes against conventional thought…
But our goal is to get you the best results in the shortest amount of time, and this step is essential.
You want me to MOVE MORE??
Up until about a decade ago, if you hurt your back, sprained an ankle or strained a muscle, the advice invariably was to rest. In fact, if you’ve ever done a basic first aid course, you have probably learned the acronym RICE: Rest + Ice + Compress + Elevate.
These have largely been called into question by good science (with the possible exception of elevation which may have some benefits for tissue healing).
That’s right, even icing is not recommended anymore, but I’ll save that for another post…
If your goal is to heal as fast as possible, movement is one of the most important steps.
There are 3 main reasons why moving more helps you feel better faster:
1. Blood Flow
Quick fact: Regardless of the type of tissue damage you have, it’s your immune system that fixes it. And since immune cells largely travel in your blood, increasing blood flow to the damaged area will bring more healing cells. This is what’s called acute inflammation and it’s essential for proper healing to happen.
When you move your body, you increase blood flow to the involved tissues, thereby bringing more immune cells to that area. Yes, you can overdo it and cause more damage – that’s why we recommend doing something like our joint-to-joint mobility program which is safe and effective.
2. Garbage Removal
Have you ever done some demolition work in your house?
There’s always way more rubbish to get rid of than you thought, right?
Once the immune cells get to work, they produce a lot of waste in a similar way. Although, this waste doesn’t actually go back into the bloodstream, it gets transported through an entirely different set of tubes called your lymphatic system.
The thing about the lymphatic system is that, unlike the vascular (blood) system, it doesn’t have a pump (like the heart)… The only way for junk to get pumped away from the damaged area is by way of muscle contraction/relaxation. Which means movement is necessary to get optimum junk removal!
3. The Squeaky Wheel
Have you ever heard the saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”? It has different meanings depending on the context, but I think most people use it to mean – the louder voice is the one that gets heard.
Well, it turns out there’s something similar that happens in the brain when there are pain signals and signals from your body’s movement sensors: they compete against each other for our brain’s attention! And because movement sensation is so much more important to our brain, it almost always wins out.
Think about it this way: when you move your body, your brain pays more attention to that information (movement) vs. the pain signals and the result is you will feel less pain.
What should you do?
If you’re dealing with pain – whether its from a recent injury, or something you’ve been dealing with for years – moving your body is going to help.
Keep it gentle to start and add a little bit more each day. The easiest place to start is with a simple mobility program.
This is the first video of a comprehensive mobility program that we share with all of our clients, but it’s yours for free right now!
Give it try and let me know how it helps!