Research

Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain & easyVitalityDr. Mecola

Chronic pain is an exceedingly common condition impacting an estimated 76.5 million Americans, one-third of whom describe their pain as severe and “disabling”.i

Among them, many suffer from neck pain, which is the third most common type of pain according to the American Pain Foundation.

It is estimated that 70 percent ofpeople will experience neck pain at some point in their lives but research into effective treatments is surprisingly limited.ii

If you visit a conventional physician for pain, there’s a very good chance you’ll leave with a prescription for a medication, as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and even opioids (OxyContin, Vicodin, etc.) are the go-to treatment for pain in the modern medical world.

However, there are better options than drugs for neck pain, not only in terms of pain relief, but also in helping to treat the underlying cause of the pain so that healing can truly occur.

 

New Study Shows Exercises and Chiropractic Care Beat Drugs for Neck Pain

According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA, medication is not the best option for treating neck pain.

After following 272 neck-pain patients for 12 weeks, those who used a chiropractor or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain free compared to those who took medication.

Specifically:

·    32 percent who received chiropracticc are became pain free

·    30 percent of those who exercised became pain free

·    13 percent of those treated with medication became pain free

Researchers concluded:

“For participants with acute and sub acute neck pain, SMT [spinal manipulation therapy] was more effective than medication in both the short and long term. However, a few instructional sessions of HEA [home exercise with advice] resulted in similar outcomes at most time points.”

Why Exercise is Essential if You Have Neck Pain

Because exercise often leads to improved posture, range of motion and functionality of your body, it can help treat the underlying source of your pain as well as help prevent chronic neck pain from developing in the first place. Exercise helps prevent and relieve pain through a number of mechanisms including strengthening key supportive muscles and restoring flexibility.

Not surprisingly, repetitive strain injuries have become increasingly common as so many people spend most of their work days sitting in front of computers. Computer work is associated with neckpain specifically originating from the trapezius muscle, also referred to astrapezius myalgia, and many types of neck pain can be traced back to poor posture at work or during your commute.

It’s a vicious cycle as poor sitting posture leads to neck pain and once neck pain develops, it can make your posture even worse. For instance, one study showed people with chronic neckpain demonstrate a reduced ability to maintain an upright posture when distracted.iii

The same study further revealed, however, that after following a specific exercise program, people with neck pain had an improved ability to maintain a neutral cervical posture during prolonged sitting, which suggests it may help break the poor posture/neck pain cycle. Other research has similarly shown that exercise is incredibly beneficial for treating neck pain including:

·    Research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that repetitive strain injury caused by office work can be reduced using certain strength training exercises.iv

·    A study published in the journal Arthritis& Rheumatism showed that strength training targeting the neck and shoulder muscles is the most beneficial treatment for women with chronic neck muscle pain as opposed to a general fitness routine.v

Five Specific Exercises to Target Chronic Neck Pain: These Can all be done standing on your easyVitality vibration platform.

Five specific strength exercises target the neck and shoulder muscles involved in causing chronic neck pain. Both studies mentioned above involved the same five exercises using hand weights, and detailed explanations of how to perform each exercise are provided by the National Research Centre for the Working Environment

You do these exercises while standing on the easyVitality platform.  Use light weights, (2.5 to 5lb.). Do each exercise for 30 seconds to 1 minute each once a day.

1.Dumbbell shrug

Stand upright with the hand weights at the side of your body. In one even motion, lift your shoulders up towards your ears and lower them again slowly. At the same time, try to relax your jaw and neck.

2.One-arm row

Stand with one knee on the bench and lean on the same-sidehand on the front of the bench. With the free arm you pull the weight up towards your lower chest. When the weight touches your chest, lower it in a controlled motion.

3.Upright row

Stand upright with your arms stretched and the hand weights in front of your body. Lift the weights in a straight line as close to yourbody as possible, until they reach the middle of your chest and your elbows point up and out. During the whole exercise, the hand weights should be placed lower than the elbows.

4.Reverse fly

Lie down on a bench in a 45° forward bent angle with the hand weights hanging towards the floor. Lift the weights outward and upward until they are horizontal, and then lower the weights in one controlled motion.During the exercise, the elbows should be slightly bent.

5.Lateral raise /shoulder abduction

Stand upright with the hand weights at the side of your body. Lift the weights outward and upward until they are horizontal, and then lower the weights in one controlled motion. During the exercise, the elbows should be slightly bent.

The researchers recommended performing the exercises three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) and alternating between exercises 1, 2, and 5 on one day, and exercises 1, 3, and 4 the next. When starting out, perform 2 sets of each exercise with 8-12 repetitions for each set. Increase at your own pace to 3 sets for each. Depending on the exercise and your current muscle strength, the recommended beginner’s weight is between 6-12 lbs.

As a general rule of thumb, increase the weight as soon as you can comfortably execute all three sets. As a guideline, the participants in the study roughly doubled the weight used in 10 weeks. After approximately four weeks, you can reduce the number of repetitions of the last sets in order to increase the weight.

80 Year Old’s with 40 Year Olds Muscle Mass – What is Going On?

80 Year old man with 40 yr old muscle mass - easy VitalityAround the age of 40,most people begin to lose about eight percent of their muscle mass per decade. But research has shown this is not an inevitable effect of aging itself—it is the result of inactivity.

·        In one recent study, competitive athletes in their 70’s and 80’s were found to have almost as much thigh muscle mass as athletes in their 40s, indicating that muscle deterioration can be halted as long as you maintain an exercise program.

·        An animal study from last year discovered that elderly sedentary rats put on a running program developed new stem cells known to repair and build muscle tissue after 13 weeks of exercise.

·        Ideally your fitness program should include a comprehensive range of exercises, including balance-training activities, and exercises to improve your strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and human growth hormone production.

Increasing physical frailty as you age is commonly accepted as “a fact of life.”

Until recently,most studies showed that after the age of 40, people typically lose eight percent or more of their muscle mass with each passing decade.

But new research suggests that this is not a foregone conclusion. One recent study of 40 competitive runners, cyclists, and swimmers, ranging in age from 40 to 81, found no evidence of deterioration — the athletes in their 70s and 80s had almost as much thigh muscle mass as the athletes in their 40s.

Quoted in the New York Times, Dr. VondaWright, who oversaw the study, said:

“We think these are very encouraging results

They suggest strongly that people don’t have to lose muscle mass and function asthey grow older.

The changes that we’ve assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppableseem actually to be caused by inactivity.

And that can be changed.”

Other recent studies have hadsimilar results. For example, in an animal study from last year, elderly sedentaryrats put on a running program developed new satellite cells after 13 weeks.These cells are specialized stem cells known to repair and build muscle tissue.

Lifelong Activity is Best, but it’s Never TooLate to Start

Over the pastseveral years, researchers have discovered that it is indeed possible to restorethe ability of old human muscle to repair and rebuild itself. However, the needto keep aging muscles in shape has also been demonstrated, as long periods ofatrophy are more challenging to overcome. These findings fall into the categoryof common sense, along the lines of “use it or lose it.” And as youage, physical exercise becomes an ever more important aspect of optimal healthand longevity.

The good news is that it’s really never too late to start an exercise program, even if you’ve been inactive for along time. Just keep in mind that older muscles do not respond as well to sudden bouts of exercise, so to take precautions and start off slow, to avoid injury.

The best way to start is with Whole body Vibration (WBV). There is no stress to any joints, tendons, muscle orheart. It is easy to do and very little time. Just 10 minutes a day is the sameas 1 hour at the gym. It is easy to do every day as it does not require workoutclothing or a long time commitment. Anyone can use it, even if you areinactive, injured or a health issue which restricts traditional weighttraining. WBV is very safe to use and is very effective.

Making Exercise Safe and Effective as You Age

Safety is always an important aspect of exercise, but becomes crucial if you’re older and just embarking on a regimented exercise program. Unfortunately, many elderly forgo exercise altogether because of a fear of injury or pain, when, in fact, proper exercise will ultimately reduce your risk of injury as well as help to improve pain.

If you’re elderly, Whole Body Vibration is the best form of exercise as it does not stress your heart or joints. Start off at lower speeds and gradually increase intensity as you grow stronger. WBV will not  aggravate or cause pain. Just keep in mind that while you need to use caution, you do need to exercise at a level that is challenging to your body.

Otherwise the true benefits will be forfeited.

Ideally your fitness program should be comprehensive, providing the necessary balance-training activities for stability while also improving your strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and fat-burning capabilities

For the Elderly, Exercise CanQuite Literally Save Your Life

As you get older your muscle and bone mass decrease and the senses that guide your balance — vision, touch, proprioception — may all start to deteriorate, and this can make you unsteady on your feet. Needless to say, bone fractures and brain injuries resulting from falls can be life threatening. Exercise is a key to maintaining your balance as you get older, and should really be viewed as a necessity — like eating and sleeping — as it can quite literally save your life.

Regular  Whole Body Vibration training works your stabilizer muscles increasing balance and strength and can even restore what’s already been lost.

In a study published last year, 8 weeks of balance training improved the likelihood of recovery from slips among the elderly. Separate research, which noted that “altered balance is the greatest collaborator towards falls in the elderly,” found balance training is effective in improving functional and static balance, mobility and falling frequency in elderly women with osteoporosis.

The ability to balance on one leg is also an important predictor of injury-causing falls, so if you know that you’d be shaky if you tried to stand on one foot,you’re at an increased risk of being hurt in a fall and should start appropriate exercises immediately.

Exercise Strengthens More than Muscle

Your muscles aren’t the only benefactors of a comprehensive exercise program. While many are misled into thinking toxic drugs are the answer to combat decreasing bone density, the truth is that weight-bearing exercise (WBV is weight bearing exercise) is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis—another common problem related to aging.

Without question, osteoporosis drugs are likely to cause more long-term harm than benefit. Studies have actually linked bisphosphonate bone strengthening drugs like Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast to an increased risk of femur fractures. One of the latest and largest studies to date discovered that women who’ve been on bisphosphonates for more than five years have a nearly three times higher risk of these dangerous fractures…

Your bones are actually very porous and soft, and as you get older, your bones can easily become less dense and hence, more brittle—especially if you are inactive.

Resistance training (WBV training)can combat this effect because as you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone. In addition, muscle is heavier than fat, so as you build more muscle,and make the muscle that you already have stronger, you also put more constant pressure on your bones which automatically helps maintain bone strength.

The Many Health Benefits of Exercise

There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence confirming that exercise is a key player in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. After reviewing 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about 2 dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.

Ideally, you will have made exercise a regular part of your life long before you reach your ”golden” years … but if you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than the present. Research has shown that regular exercise, even initiated late in life, offers profound health benefits. For instance:

·        Even a small amount of exercise may protect the elderly from long-term memory loss and even help reverse some of the effects of aging.

·        Moderate exercise among those aged 55-75 may cut the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which increases heart disease and diabetes risk.

·        Among those who started exercising at age 50 and continued for 10 years, the rate of premature death declined dramatically, similar to giving up smoking and mirroring the level as seen among people who had been working out their entire lives

Remember, It’s NEVER Too Late to Improve Your Health

It should be obvious by now that optimal health is dependent on an active lifestyle; eating fresh, whole foods, avoiding as many processed foods as possible, and addressing the stress in your life. Ignoring any of these basic tenets of health will eventually lead to a decline in health and any number of diseases.

Physical exercise is particularly important to maintain a high quality of life, as limited mobility can take a great toll… So start moving, and don’t stop no matter what your age!

 

                Get Started Now!        It's easy!         No Sweat!

From: Dr. Mercola

Source: New York Times November9, 2011

Source: The Physician and Sports MedicineOctober 2011;39(3):172-8