If you have pain, change the conditions and your body can thrive
I would like to start this blog with a quote from vitamin D expert Prof. Michael Holicks book ‘The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems’, as I think he put it nicely, when he wrote the following:
‘We should give the human body more credit than it sometimes gets. People don’t shrivel, shatter, or shut down at the first sign of stress. Instead, the human body operates on the “overload principle”—when subjected to outside forces, it adapts by getting stronger. Examples of this phenomenon abound in the human body. Your muscles don’t pop and your bones don’t break if you regularly lift weights—they get bigger and more powerful so they can handle a heavier load. Your heart and lungs don’t explode or collapse if you go running every morning—they become more efficient and your lung capacity expands. Your ligaments and tendons don’t snap if you do stretching exercises—they get more flexible.’
I think Prof. Holick gets it absolutely right here. What he’s saying is, that our bodies are perfect the way they are, as long as they find the right conditions to work properly.
So what conditions can help the body to stay or become free from pain?
The main pillars of a good and pain-free health are a well balanced diet, regular high quality movement, plenty of sunshine, good supportive friends and family and of course good stress management.
Now, what’s a good diet? Ask five different people and you will probably get five different answers. So I will give you my opinion based on my research and my personal experience. Muscles hate acid and work best in a relative alkaloid environment. This means that a diet high in micronutrients (such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins, secondary plant substances) and rich in alkaloids like vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains, and low in animal based protein is going to help you get smooth, flexible muscles and soft tissue. Drink plenty of fluids (water or herbal teas).
I’ve been talking about the importance of regular high quality exercise balancing out your daily routines of one-sided movement patterns in recent blogs. There is an idiom that nails it: Use it (the right way), or loose it! Provide high quality stretches for tense muscles. That way you will gradually improve your range of motion and reduce pain. Exercise also gets your muscles to excrete myokines, molecules with a very wide range of healthy properties. Foremost, they are involved in exercise-associated metabolic changes, and in the metabolic changes following training adaptation. They participate in tissue regeneration and repair, maintenance of healthy bodily functioning, immune-modulation, cell signaling, expression and differentiation. What more could you want?
What’s sunshine possibly got to do with pain? Sunshine has several great benefits: It provides warmth. Muscles love that. It provides endorphines, which reduce pain and make you feel good. But first and foremost the UVB-fraction of sunlight makes your skin produce vitamin D. Sunshine is actually the main source of vitamin D. Even with the best diet you could not get enough of it. Vitamin D is a real jack of all trades. Among other functions vitamin D gets your bowels to absorb calcium and distributes it to the right places, like the bones and, very important, also the muscles, which is essential for good muscle function. So get out in the sun and enjoy it sensibly. Without getting burnt, of course.
Stress and a supportive environment
The last topics from my list, stress and a supportive environment, go hand in hand. The latter will reduce stress, which can be a major factor in increasing muscular tension. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol (long term stress hormone) create acid, which, as mentioned above, increases tension and therefore pain. So beware of stress, be it mental or physical and avoid people causing same.
In the end it all comes down to one thing. Be nice to yourself and do not exploit your body. You will be rewarded.
Do you have any further questions? Do send me an email.