Experiencing Chronic Pain? Rediscover the Joy of Gentle Movement

To fight chron­ic pain you have to get mov­ing.  Sit­ting or lying around won’t get you any­where.  A seden­tary lifestyle will increase your pain while boost­ing your risk of heart dis­ease, dia­betes, and oth­er chron­ic ill­ness­es.

You’ve got to move.  But don’t focus on “exer­cise.”  It’s not about how much, how far, or how many reps.

What’s impor­tant first of all is enjoy­ing the sim­ple plea­sure of body move­ment.

Here are some ideas you can try.

  • Enjoy a pleas­ant walk through your neigh­bor­hood or in a near­by park.  Don’t quan­ti­fy how many min­utes or how many yards you walk. Instead, enjoy the rhythm your legs fall into as you effort­less­ly move through the land­scape.  Notice your chest ris­ing and falling with each breath.  Pay atten­tion to how light­ly your head can bal­ance on your neck – free to turn right or left as it will.
  • Check a yoga book out of the library, then find a qui­et room and spread a blan­ket or mat on the floor.  Study a sim­ple pose.  Then enter ful­ly into the expe­ri­ence of the pose, notic­ing your breath­ing, the mus­cles that respond, and the areas of resis­tance or lim­i­ta­tion.  Don’t judge your­self by com­par­ing your­self to the pic­tures in the book – just expe­ri­ence what it’s like to be inside your body.
  • Watch peo­ple on the street walk by, then try to imi­tate their walks.  Laugh about it.  Open your own Min­istry of Sil­ly Walks.  (Don’t remem­ber Mon­ty Python?  Check it out on Youtube)
  • If you have young chil­dren, read them a sto­ry­book and act out some of the parts.
  • Snow­shoe through qui­et woods in win­ter.
  • Play some of your favorite tunes and dance in the pri­va­cy of your own home.  Expe­ri­ence your pelvis swing­ing right and left or for­ward and back.  Note the ris­ing and falling of your body weight as you bend and straight­en your knees, or as you shift your weight from the right foot to the left and back again.  See the path in space your body makes as you cir­cle around the room.  Impro­vise.
  • Wig­gle your toes.  Be sil­ly.  Blow soap bub­bles and chase after them.
  • Take a t’ai ch’i class.

You may find that some body parts “talk back to you” as you get your body mov­ing through space.  Don’t ignore sig­nals of pain, if that’s in fact what they are.  Don’t per­sist with a move­ment if it seems to hurt.  But give your body a chance to work through some of the kinks, too.

Be gen­tle with your­self, but be guid­ed by the unshake­able goal of get­ting your body into gear and enjoy­ing the expe­ri­ence.

Redis­cov­er­ing the joy of sim­ple move­ment — that’s Step 5 of Dr. Lavine’s Ten Step Pro­gram to Con­quer Chron­ic Ill­ness.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website, askdrlavine.com, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at drlavine@yourbodyofknowledge.com or at 212-400-9663.
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