How walking can help Chronic Pain
Firstly, what is chronic pain?
Chronic or persistent pain can be explained as pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment.
The root cause can vary person-to-person, with it sometimes due to illness or an injury. In other cases it can be due to being overweight, having years of poor posture or improper lifting of heavy weights. It can be debilitating but movement is known to help.
As an osteopath, the conversation I seem to have at least once-a-day is; how much exercise should someone who is in pain be doing?
As you can imagine every case is different, and exercise advice varies hugely from person to person and condition to condition. There is a big difference between chronic pain and recovery from injury pain. I am focusing on exercises for people with chronic pain conditions, specifically walking.
Many people with chronic pain are afraid that movement, including walking, will worsen pain. But as many have subsequently discovered, the opposite is very often true. Using your muscles and joints less can often cause pain to becomes worse. Gentle exercise like walking can really help to bring those pain levels down, as well as many other benefits like improving your circulation, strengthening your bones and of course helping to keep those extra pounds off.
Here are tips before you start:
1. Talk to your healthcare professional first
You should always take the advice of a health professional before starting any exercise. They can ensure it is safe for you to start, and guide you with the types of exercises you should begin with. They will also help you understand your limits and outline suitable goals. As a rule of thumb, if you are in pain, stop!
I, or another osteopath, can check your posture and gait and give you tips on engaging the correct muscles.
2. Get the right shoes
A good pair of supportive trainers will prove invaluable. Walking boots that protect the ankle are only really required if you’re planning to walk on loose surfaces or heading off into the mountains. Otherwise, walking trainers will suffice. To find out more about choosing the right footwear, read our blog on How To Avoid Running Injuries.
3. Start slow
What we’re aiming for is about half an hour to an hour of physical activity five days a week, but this may take some time to achieve. There’s no rush! A good indicator that you are at the right intensity level is that even though your heart rate is up a little, you are still able to carry on a conversation while walking. When starting your walk don’t go full speed immediately. Allow your muscles and joints to warm up for the first few minutes before getting up to speed. This will help prevent damage and injuries.
4. Keep hydrated
You may need to carry a bottle of water, especially for walking in hot weather. If the weather is hot, make sure you also take sunscreen and a hat to stop sunburn.
5. Finally, try to enjoy it!
The more you enjoy it, the easier it becomes. Find somewhere nice to walk, even if that means
driving somewhere. Listen to music/ podcasts/ audiobooks, or even better get a walking buddy to join you for a chit chat along the route.
For more information on osteopathy services, visit the main page.
OSTEOPATHY AT FLEET STREET CLINIC
Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).
Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling +44 20 7353 5678, email email@example.com or book an appointment online.
As a specialist travel clinic, we are passionate about travel and get inspired by stories from our patients every day.
We meet interesting people day in, day out, both at the clinic and when we’re doing trade shows.
Following a chance meeting at the Adventure Travel Show in January, we felt inspired to support Damian King as he embarks on an extreme adventure across India.
Damian explained his plans to walk from North India to South India – starting at Kashmir and ending in Kanyakumari. This is a total of 2,547km aiming for 30miles per day – which is no easy feat!
Not only is Damian’s mission a personal extreme adventure to tick off the bucket list but a way to raise awareness and fundraise for CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). If you are unfamiliar with this charity, they are leaders in the movement against male suicide. Which, unfortunately, is still the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
It is a sad fact that on average 84 men take their lives every week in the UK. As a society, we need to remove the stigma of mental health as a whole but specifically around gender expectations, gender norms and toxic masculinity which has embedded itself with our culture. As healthcare professionals, we strongly believe in promoting a healthy lifestyle, advocate for disease prevention and highlighting the importance of self-care and wellbeing. This is why we so passionately decided to support Damian. To be in some way a small (but essential) part of his adventure and assist in raising awareness for male suicide felt thrilling and essential. Part of our company ethos is to support the adventurous traveller so we said yes to becoming his medical partner, offering support for vaccinations, travel advice, medical kits, podiatry advice and also nutritional advice.
“The decision to work with the guys at Fleet Street Clinic was quite simple. I required a varied number of services which they offered. They are centrally located in between the West End and City, and more importantly, it doesn’t have the clinical feel of a doctors surgery like many do.”
– Damian King
As a specialist travel clinic, we advocate the importance of good health whilst travelling and assist travellers to view health as one of the most important aspects of their adventure holiday. We have assisted with Damian in his preparation for his adventure from top to toe. Important parts of his pre-travel preparation were travel vaccinations alongside travel advice; highlighting risks from the weather, insects, animals, food and water. Other important health checks included a visit to the podiatrist to ensure his feet remained healthy during training and whilst walking, the nutritionist to speak about the impact of his diet whilst travelling and what he should and shouldn’t be eating in preparation for such a drastic amount of exercise and an in-body scan to document his training efforts which looks at weight distribution, muscle mass and body fat percentage.
We are proud to be a part of Damian’s journey and we wish him a fantastic and safe adventure. If you would like to follow Damian King’s adventure, you can find out more on his blog or on his Instagram.
If you are thinking of embarking on your own travel adventure and need a travel consultation appointment, you can book online.