Have you ever noticed that your couch potato friend always seems to have lots of complaints? When you ask them to join you in a game of touch football, softball, or even a night out on the town, they have lots of excuses. They complain about back problems, a headache, or just don’t have the energy. It should not be surprising that there is a link between chronic pain and inactivity.
The Year Of Inactivity
If 2020 wasn’t bad enough keeping us locked up, unable to visit others, engage in sports, visit gyms, and just enjoy normal physical activities, it has also encouraged many of us to become sedentary. This includes people of all ages, from teens to grandpa. This is just about the worst thing that could have happened, it’s an unintended consequence, and it ultimately affects our immune system.
Becoming inactive is one of the worst things you can do for your health as your body will react physically and mentally. Known as “disuse syndrome”, this only becomes worse, and for those with chronic pain it could be the very thing sustaining your problems.
At the same time, the NIH tells us that “chronic pain is a significant health problem affecting over 100 million Americans, more than diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined.”
The Effects Of Inactivity
When we don’t use our muscles for a period of time, they will eventually atrophy. This contributes to cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure, and over time our musculoskeletal system starts to deteriorate. There are serious consequences to our bodies from inactivity. Our muscles become smaller and weaker, and when we try to resume activity, there is less muscle mass leading to chronic pain.
Weight gain is another inevitable result of inactivity thus putting even more pressure on our muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments making symptoms of chronic pain worse.
Break The Vicious Cycle
Although it is difficult to move with chronic pain, even a small amount of physical activity every day can begin to break the cycle. It can begin to reverse the effects and is a way to manage and even decrease existing pain.
Walking and stretching are better than nothing. Start small and increase more every day. Break your inactivity syndrome.