A programme of remedial exercise or therapeutic exercise, designed to meet the particular needs of an individual, can be beneficial as a means of relieving, and promoting, recovery from a wide range of complaints.
People who are suffering from complaints such as arthritis, joint pain, muscle injuries and stroke are able to exercise more easily in water because the body is supported by the water, allowing freer movement of the affected part.
Back pain is a common cause of incapacity and disability – around 60 per cent of adults in the West are likely to experience some form of backache during their lifetime. For 33 per cent of these people, the problem is chronic or recurring. The most common causes of backache include:
- Strain in the muscles or ligaments of the back brought on by poor lifting technique when lifting heavy objects, or by poor posture.
- A prolapsed intervertebral disc.
- Damaged or ageing joints.
- Poor muscle tone – often caused by inactivity.
- Tension in the muscles – often caused by stress or depression.
- Pregnancy – hormones released during pregnancy allow the ligaments to stretch further than usual. Also, the weight of the baby may cause the mother to arch her spine in order to balance, thereby straining the back muscles.
HOW EXERCISE AFFECTS PAIN
Exercise is an effective method of treating chronic pain, and is known as therapeutic exercise. It is thought to work in a number of ways. In brief:
- Exercise boosts levels of endorphins – the body’s own natural painkillers.
- Exercise speeds up the rate at which the body excretes adrenalin and noradrenalin – the toxic by-products of stress.
- During exercise, the brain is distracted from feeling pain signals and the individual’s perception of the pain changes.
Tai Chi is one of the Eastern exercise disciplines believed to help relieve psychological conditions, such as depression, stress and addictions. It can be practised by both young and old alike.In the long term, a fitter person is less likely to suffer from chronic pain.
Physiotherapists use remedial exercises and other treatments to help patients to recover from a range of health problems. A typical programme may include hands-on techniques such as massage, stretching, mobilization and manipulation, as well as electrical stimulation and heat therapy.
Massage promotes relaxation and feelings of well-being and is, therefore, a useful form of stress relief. It can also help to alleviate chronic pain, tension in the head, neck andand RSI. It stimulates the circulation and promotes the healing of muscle and other soft-tissue injuries.
Massage has been used for thousands of years as a means of promoting and maintaining good health. It is depicted on Egyptian tomb paintings, and also referred to in ancient Chinese and Indian manuscripts. In the 5th century BC, Hippocrates advocated frequent massage to maintain good health.
A daily massage is believed to have helped Julius Caesar to alleviate the pain of neuralgia and headaches. In the 16th century, French court physician Ambrose Pare revived massage as a therapy for various ailments. In the 19th century, Per Henrik Ling, a Swedish gymnast, popularized therapeutic massage throughout Europe. He combined his knowledge of gymnastics and physiology with Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Roman techniques.