Get Rid of Aches and Pains With a Stretch
Pain is useful and necessary to alert the sufferer that something is amiss. No amount of painkillers will get rid of the cause of aches and pains. Painkillers only numb the symptoms, making it harder to identify and heal a harmful condition. Learn here how to identify the root causes of your aches and pains. Once you know why something hurts, where the pain comes from, a targeted stretch can put the affected parts back into place for future pain prevention and permanent cure.
Where Does the Pain Come From?
The most common cause of chronic aches and pains, like neck pain, headaches and migraine, frozen shoulders, bad backs, knees, and hip pain, comes from stiffness or spasm in muscle tissue from holding the body in disadvantageous positions for too long. Sitting still for hours on end, or even sleeping in the wrong position creates stiffness and reduces mobility, thereby creating a vicious circle of not wanting to move much because it hurts.
How Do I Get Rid of Pain Forever?
The easiest and most successful way to break the stiffness—not wanting to move—and pain cycle, is to gently, almost passively, increase the movement range in the affected joints to make them more flexible.
For example, chronic pain felt in the upper back, neck, and shoulders is nothing more than muscle spasm (cramp) caused by holding the head in a miss-aligned, unbalanced position, too far in front of the body. Once the cervical vertebrae (neck bones) are trained back into their correctly aligned place, many muscles can relax, and the pain goes away.
Changing Your Mindset
They say that aches and pains come with aging, but aging is not the real cause of aches and pains. The idea of "Oh, I can't do that at my age!" is a self-imposed label that diminishes the desire to be physically active. Yes, if you stop stretching, you become a prematurely old person moaning about aches and pains. Healthy, active elderly people always say that they don't feel their age. "What? Am I 65 today? I feel just the same as when I was twenty!" is something I often hear from my elderly clients at the dance studio. So the first thing to do if you want to get rid of aches and pains is to listen to your body and change your mindset. Secondly, get off the chairs. Watch the next video and find out how harmful sitting on chairs all day really can be.
Are You Chair Shaped?
Sitting on chairs all day is detrimental to health. Getting off the chairs onto the floor allows the body to find its natural movement capabilities.
Flexibility Comes First
Without flexibility there is no hope of a painless future as we grow older. Flexibility allows every joint in the body to reach its full anatomical movement range. For example, people with stiff knees cannot squat down or climb stairs properly. Those with stiff necks often suffer chronic head aches and migraine. Others with poor posture get a stiff back and suffer lower back pain and sciatica. Staying immobile makes you stiff and hurts your joints when you do try to move. As shown in the next video, simply lying on the floor for gentle passive stretching loosens the joints in the neck and spine.
Anyone at Any Age Can Improve Flexibility to Help Cure Chronic Pain
What Is Stiffness?
Stiffness in the body hinders good posture, alignment, and balance. It is, therefore, not possible to really benefit from any fitness program without a good degree of flexibility. High impact training stress on a stiff, misaligned body like aerobics, treadmills, rowing machines, dumbbells, weights, or jogging, only aggravates an already poorly aligned skeleton. It is, therefore, crucial, before attempting any heavy cardio training, that the joints in the body are flexible enough for correct alignment in order to safely catch gravitational impact without causing painful injuries. Loosening the joints can be done in the most pleasant of ways: Passive Stretching. The best example of such practice can be experienced with a Yoga Sling.
Relaxing in a "Counter to the Norm" Position With the Yoga Sling
Flexibility for Proper Alignment
Without flexibility, correct alignment cannot be achieved, and without proper alignment, you get chronic aches and pains. Hey, ho! A catch 22 situation. That sounds like bad news. Not at all, as you can see, from what happens on the Yoga Sling, passive flexibility practice, without painful huffing and puffing, is your best friend. Once you allow your body to feel the pleasure of letting go of unnecessary tension and allow your bones to gently ease themselves into their nature-given place, you are winning the battle against pain. Look at the next animated video illustrating this point to a somewhat exaggerated degree.
In Theory, Bones Can Move Anywhere
What Is the Secret of Flexibility?
Flexibility is not some airy-fairy concept that only dancers, gymnasts, or contortionists are good at. When a leg is straight, that's it—the knee locks, and it will go no further. When a leg is fully bent, again, it can only go as far as the end of its natural range in the knee joint, which is when the heel touches the buttocks, as in a full squat or a heel-sit. So in many areas of the body, flexibility is finite and pre-determined by the skeleton to allow us to move and act in the most efficient way. The secret of stretching is to NOT do anything at all except to relax and breathe deeply in a particular position favorable to the desired stretch. For example, what is the full mobility of the knee joint?
Try the above positions before answering the question
Do YOU Have Full Movement Range in the Knee Joint?
Flexibility for Safety
Without full articulation of say, the knee joint, a sudden fall might seriously injure you, whereas the same fall caught by a supple person does no harm at all. How come? A stiff knee with shortened muscles, tendons, and ligaments will SNAP from an abrupt total folding of the lower leg suddenly caused by a fall.
Injuries and pain caused by stiffness do not even require a sudden fall. A lack of movement and flexibility puts stress on too few overworked muscles while leaving other muscles dormant to the point of atrophy (unusable), hence the unnecessary painful "shrinking" of many aging bodies. But in reality, people do not shrink with age. They merely fold up like an accordion.
Respect Your Body
If we, ungrateful sods, do not take the trouble to use a joint to its full capacity, the joint reacts: "OK, suit yourself!" the joint says. "I'll close up a bit and grow some more cartilage and bone spurs where you don't want me, just to hold myself together if you don’t mind.”
Cartilage and Bone Spurs
Cartilage is a very firm, rubbery tissue that cushions, protects, and supports bones at their joints. You grow extra cartilage in two circumstances:
- When you fail to use a joint to its full range, cartilage fills up the unused gap. In the knees, the neck, back, etc., sometimes ossification occurs when additional bone tissue (bone spurs) grows, causing vertebrae to fuse together through sheer lack of movement.
- When joints are over-worked, carry too much weight by tired, weak muscles, as in so many old people's hands.
Yes, you guessed correctly: both extremes, a lack of use and over-use, end up as arthritis. The trouble is, once a problem has acquired an official medical label like arthritis (the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes) or extra fluids in the joints) the condition (a) becomes permanent and (b) pharmaceutical products can be sold to turn you into a "patient", patiently waiting for the products to heal you. Which they never do.
Rather than clinging on to a label and taking pills, you would be far better off learning how to stretch the affected joints gently.
Prevention Better than Cure
As prevention, stretching on a Yoga Swing or regularly using a Gravity Inversion Table can help prevent such painful conditions occurring in the first place.
Watch the next video, see for yourself how much fun you can have with a yoga swing.
A Yoga Swing is a simple piece of equipment that helps a body loosen up and become flexible in the most pleasant and playful fashion. What are the pre-requisites of successful stretching?
- Be warmed up
- Relax, stay passive
- Breathe deeply into the stretch
- Stretch down into gravity
- Test the joint with gentle movements
- Apply self-massage when necessary
Experimenting with a Yoga Swing provides all the above favorable stretching conditions. Through play and safe risk-taking, you can loosen all the bones in the body for fun, pleasure, greater flexibility, and less pain.
When Should You Stretch?
You must stretch a little every day when you wake up, or in or after a bath, or shower, when your body is warm. You can also stretch at any time during the day when you feel stiff and tired, given the opportunity. Standing in an airport queue, I suddenly felt the urge to stretch up the arm that had been pulling on my suitcase for several hours. Everybody in the queue looked up, wondering what I was pointing at!
How Many Reps?
A stretch only has to be done once or twice until the extremity of a full movement range in a joint has been reached. Too much stretching can cause problems: the muscles get hurt and retract further back than where they started. A little stretching every day will get you a lot further than violently stretching once a week.
For How Long?
You may remain in the relaxed stretched positions for a few counts or a few minutes, depending on how you feel. Just remember: when the body is placed in a new position, it will always make itself felt. Relax down into the stretch, breathing out the pain at every slow out-breath. When the pain has gone, gently roll out of the position, and slowly rebuild your body with the new, painless sensation clocked in. You are now engaging new muscles to hold you better. It is important to physically memorize the improved position throughout the day if you can, so the same stretch, perhaps tomorrow, will take you further.
People who never stretch perceive a stretch as a pain; a cracking in the joints as arthritis. A cracking joint is the sound of the end of bones moving against each other when they have, for a time, not been moving much. With a few slow repetitions of the movement, accompanied with breathing, the cracking noises diminish and go away completely. It is nothing to worry about as long as it does not hurt. Consider cracking noises in your body as the squeaking hinges of a rusty door. When the hinges get oiled, the door opens and closes silently. Ditto with joints. When they are lubricated with increased blood flow, they soon stop cracking.
The Ultimate Stretch
As shown in the above video, one of the most pleasant ways to relax and stretch the entire body is using a Gravity Inversion Table. A gravity inversion table helps to loosen and realign all your joints with gentle anti-gravity traction. Initially designed to get rid of a stiff back or stiff neck by simply relaxing in an inverted position, a gravity inversion table does much more. It stretches out the entire body, gently pulling on every joint attachment (ligaments & tendons) and its connected muscle tissue. When you finish, after a few minutes, you will have grown slightly taller, feel elevated, lighter, both in mood and sensation.
Never Give Up Stretching and Moving
Saying "I can't do that, I am too old." is giving up. It's like a self-imposed death sentence to your flexibility, your ability to move well and painlessly throughout your life at any age. Admittedly, there comes a time when we perhaps no longer can run a marathon or perform hard core aerobic exercises, but gentle, almost passive yoga stretches can be performed throughout one's lifetime to maintain full mobility in the joints, postural balance, and to get rid of aches and pains forever.
Benefits of Improved Flexibility
Flexibility increases movement range to
- improve posture
- make you look better with
- greater comfort in the body by
- eliminating stress and
- aches and pains, and
- make you feel a lot happier
- + a flexible body makes for a flexible mind!
You Are Responsible for Your Own Body
No amount of prescription pills from Obama Care, the NHS and big pharma will help you permanently get rid of aches and pains. Do not fall into the trap of "patient / victim" consumer market strategy for profits. Instead, get rid of aches and pains by listening to your body, understand what your body is trying to tell you when you feel pain, and then improve on your movement vocabulary and flexibility. You are responsible for your own body. You have the power to prevent and cure pain by keeping your joints flexible, mobile and strong. Now that's the best news: you are in control!
Please share your thoughts and results by participating in the comments discussion below where you may find real-life case histories similar to your own.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.