Motion is lotion. This saying is a memorable way to convey the helpful effects of movement for any painful condition. In general, in most painful conditions, with too much rest, people stiffen up and get more painful overall. Moving them regularly keeps joints and soft tissues more flexible and less painful.
When people first hear this, many look skeptical. They may say, “but when I sit my knee/back, etc. feels OK and when I get up the pain is the worst!” To avoid this, you need to rest less and move more, but in a way that causes minimal to no pain. Any person with arthritis will tell you that their joints stiffen or gel up when they are still too long and that once they get moving, they loosen up and feel much better.
It is a well-known fact in physiotherapy that our body’s soft tissues – ligaments, tendons, muscles – will shorten and tighten if not moved through their full range regularly. If those soft tissues are inflamed, they will also get more swollen when held still. When those inflamed tissues are moved again, it will feel painful for the first few movements.
When sore, inflamed tissues are moved gently and regularly in a non-aggravating way, they will actually become less painful. This is true at the time of doing the movement, and also for the overall condition as it heals. Many patients with arthritis or back or neck pain have learned that regular daily, appropriate, exercise is a good way to manage their painful symptoms.
With extensive training in both normal and abnormal body function, a physiotherapist is the best professional to assess your painful condition and determine the most appropriate type of movement for you. At Best Health Physiotherapy, our experienced physiotherapists have further specialized training in many types of injury and dysfunction. They can help you start moving to feel better!