The Prevalence of Pain
Pain can detract significantly from regular exercise and diminish quality of life. Unfortunately, pain is rampant among today’s population. A survey-based study published in the May issue of The Lancet (2008; 3 , 1519–25) found that 25% of 3,982 respondents were experiencing pain at the time of the survey. According to the American Pain Foundation (www.painfoundation.org), “an estimated 76.5 million Americans report that they have had a problem with pain of any sort that persisted for more than 24 hours in duration.” The website also states that pain costs Americans $100 billion annually.
Why are so many people in pain, and how can fitness professionals help remedy the situation? Eric Beard, senior master instructor at the National Academy of Sports Medicine and fitness director/master trainer for the Longfellow Sports Club in Natick, Massachusetts, believes that technology may be to blame for modern society’s problem with pain. “We need to move more!” says Beard. “Pain can make movement more difficult, but there are evidence-based solutions available. Self-myofascial release, static stretching and activation exercises have proven themselves to be quite valuable when trying to decrease pain.”
Beard also suggests taking a look at the “whole” person, which helps highlight roadblocks that could be preventing optimal movement patterns. “Make sure that you consult with the client’s primary-care physician or treating healthcare professional to identify any possible contraindications,” he adds. “Once we find out the dos and don’ts, we can begin to make a difference in our clients’ lives!”
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