Chiropractor  Specials

A Spinal Health and Movement Center is offering a $30 Special for the first Chiropractic Treatment for a limited time. (First visit price is usually $40) Afterward our appointments prices are $40 per visit unless you are on a wellness plan.

This is an unbelievable deal for a Chiropractic adjustments which include soft tissue prep to area of complaint, interferential therapy,  and moist heat to the area of pain or tension prior to adjustment.

We thought that this is a great way for the growing Albuquerque Community that has not seen us to get to know us, and a great way for us to give back to the city that has been good to us.. So for a limited time offer we are offering new patients an introductory price of $40 so you can get to know us, as others have, and experience for yourself if what we have to offer.

We look forward to seeing you in our Nob Hill Area location at:

316 Adams SE in the Highland Loft Building.

Find us at Albuquerque-Chiropractors.com

Thank you, Albuquerque.

Dr. Ramirez

505-247-2373

Albuqeurque-Chiropractors.com

Find a Chiropractor near me!

February 25, 2015

Siri…Find a Chiropractor near me.

If you are like many people these days, you are using your iPhone for location of business and products.  Technology has really come a long way and now google and Siri have changed the way we look up services.  But what should you really be asking when searching for a Chiropractor near you? What are the questions to ask?  And should you go to someone down the block without trying several places out first?

It used to be people would ask a friend or family member who they liked and what results they are getting.  But individual needs and differences vary, and so the Chiropractor you see will need to vary as well.  But the truth is that people are really asking the question “who can I trust!”

$40 First Visit!

There are all kinds of apples in the healthcare barrel, and we Chiropractors have our share of good and bad, just like all professions.  And to be sure,  I’ve met some really talented and committed Chiropractic professionals out there, some of which are affordable, others which are prohibitively priced, and not easy to seek regular care for many people, especially those without insurance. Therefore, we strive for the highest quality and professionalism and are committed to provide this care at an easy, affordable price.

We are so committed to do our part to meet peoples needs, and earn your Trust, we offer a $40 first visit internet offer ( A 50% discount) so you can try us out for yourself and let us earn your trust.

We believe that we offer so much during our treatments and we want to make it easy for you to try us out with a very low commitment on your first visit.  Our regular office visits are only $40 per treatment, and even less if you are on a membership plan. (only about $25 per treatment for wellness care).

At A Spinal Health and Movement Center, we are committed to offering high quality chiropractic care… so during your treatment, in addition to a highly skilled adjustment, you will receive a heat treatment, interferential stimulation, and local soft tissue massage to relax areas of stress and pain.  Our approach is to relax the mind and body, so we have a spa like office with relaxing music that helps calm your nervous system and allow you to relax during the treatments.

We never have high pressure sales, high cost, or expensive difficult to get out of contracts, and we will never use fear to make you come in for treatments.  We respect you and value your health too much to use those approaches.  We make it easy, affordable, and accessible for you to receive your Chiropractic care.

Dr. Ramirez

Albuquerque-Chiropractors.com

A Spinal Health and Movement Center.

316 Adams SE

Albuquerque, NM 87108

505-247-2373

Lose Weight, Feel Better.

Many people are motivated to lose weight in order to look better so as a chiropractor at A Spinal Health and Movement Center, I am often asked “What exercise is the best for losing weight?”  The question seems backward to me, I don’t like the idea of recommending strenuous exercise to lose weight.

For successful weight loss, I suggest healthy nutrition and smart food combinations (avoid simple refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, and fast food) and include fruits and vegetables as much as possible.  This is usually a good start, and many people will lose weight this way, and keep it off long term. So rather than focusing on hours of strenuous exercise that will leave you frustrated, fatigued, and possibly predispose you to injury if done too quickly without allowing the body to adjust to the new demands and forces on the joints…focus on exercise as a part of your lifestyle and weight management, not weight loss.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you should not exercise, in fact, exercise is so much more important than just having the “right” body image.  Exercise, when done consistently, no matter whether it’s biking, swimming, hiking, running, dancing, or yoga is so much more beneficial to the mind and body, than seeking the image people want. Alternatively, some people diet without exercise, which I think is a mistake- because you will likely gain the weight back if it is done for the wrong reasons and without thought to the benefits of proper and routine exercise.

I was reminded of this today as I read an article in todays in Shape Magazine stating the many benefits of exercise such as reduction in anxiety, boost in immunity, reducing disease (heart disease, diabetes), helping sleep and improving overall mental health.

I totally agree that these reasons alone are sufficient motivation to get moving.

Use it Or Lose It!

In my opinion and experience, when people are trying to exercise to lose weight or to get the “right” body image, their brain is really subconsciously trying to get them back to a time and place when they were more fit, had more time, and possibly better mental health.  To be sure; stress, pain, and disease take a toll on a person, and the mind seeks a place and homeostatic set point (sort of speak) of another time when the body was better able to move and function.

In fact, when one is in chronic pain, the brains neurons will decrease dendritic connections and will actually result in a reduction in the body image of the limb or body part that is in pain, missing, or immobile.  This is a kind of phantom pain syndrome on a functional level and our somatic blind spots will only increase if our bodies are not moving, and we are not aware of the area that is not being used.  And as far as the brain is concerned, a part that it is not aware of is the same as a part that doesn’t exist.

Use it or lose it applies to neurons as well as muscles.

Warning Signals!

Our minds tell us stories in order to  think we want to look better when we are actually seeking more movement, and attention to our bodies, and possibly time to enjoy the things we used to.  Advertisers and Marketing Corporations are aware of this and will feed into and exploit this real biologic warning signal that comes from a bottom up unconscious awareness of body neglect.

Our brain’s neurons will fire signals much like a car will signal when tire is low or engine maintenance signals.  Only we have difficulty seeing them as signals.  We misread what the brain is alerting us to do.  Our ego’s filter neuronal information and we misread what the brain is saying.

We need to reassess our thinking from time to time and have the courage to make the changes needed to improve movement, attend to our bodies, and make real lasting changes in our lives daily in order to stay healthy, and truly alive.

This is the vibrancy that we remember from our youth that our brains subconsciously whisper to our conscious mind but our ego mis-interprets.

 

Dr. Ramirez

A Spinal Health and Movement Center

abuquerque-chiropractors.com

 

I had someone email me recently at A Spinal Health and Movement Center about sciatica that was waking him up at night and he was interested in our services we offer as he felt it may take several visits and different massage and chiropractic treatments to help him.  I want to post the response to my e-mail as I feel it may help others who have a similar situation and questions.  He was having lower back pain with sciatic leg pain for 1 1/2 months and is getting worse and is uncomfortable sleeping with pain waking him up at night.  He also stated he has tension and pain in the shoulders as well.  Heat and stretching makes the pain worse. He seeks treatment and saw our rates on our website and would also like to know the rates for Massage.   I’ll keep his name private but this was my response.

Dear _______.

Sorry to hear that you are in pain. I don’t want to diagnose from an email without looking at you firsthand but it does sound like sciatica from entrapment of the piriformis muscle. I’m not sure if you have some disc issues or if you have seen your MD for the pain? It’s not a bad idea to get an x-ray to view the Lower back and make sure there is not something going on that is referring into the sciatic nerve.

I think we can offer some support here for you in the meantime. Yes, our rates are pretty affordable at $40 per visit which includes the e-stim and traction. Remind me to avoid using heat if you decide to come in. If multiple visits are needed you can pay as you go then get on the 2x per month wellness rate at $49 per month or only $25 plus tax per treatment once you begin to feel better.

Hope that helps and please call us to make an appointment when you are ready.

Dr. Ramirez

Albuquerque-chiropractors.com

When I was in Chiropractic School we were taught that a right short leg indicated a posterior pelvic ilium, or PI as we called it. This short leg lead to a host of aberrant kinetic chain difficulties including a pelvic unleveling and subluxations of L4/5 vertebrae leading to lower back pain and disc disorders if left untreated. Sounds logical, and there is merit to this kinetic chain biomechanical model.   However, as I started checking people, it seemed to me there are an aweful lot of people with right short legs, and not everyone has back pain? Some of them had shoulder and neck pain.

Well, they would tell me, the kinetic chain if untreated, will subuxate all the way up the spine to the neck. Wow! I thought. Seems a simplified explanation but ok. I accepted the teaching. As I began to speak to people I realized that biomechanics are not the only thing affecting pain syndromes. What if the problem was not coming from the pelvis, or the short leg, but instead was an indication of what was going on in the brain?

It seems that stress, daily emotional and mental demands and the act of living in a left brain dominant society leave the right brain lacking stimulation. Maybe the right brain is understimulated, or afferentated as we say in chiro neuro circles. It would cause an increase of tone in posterior musculature on the ipsilateral side, in this case, causing a right short leg.

The biomechanics are important but the body is more complex than simple biomechanics. The brain is the driver of tone and balance. Remember the right hemisphere is the side that loves to be out in nature, whether the mountains or the beach. Wherever it is that you feel connected and filled. It loves to move slow and linger in space. It loves creativity, music, and does not have a time agenda or schedule.

 

See us at A Spinal Health and Movement Center for the biomechanics, but remember if you balance your brain, and your body will follow.

www.Albuquerque-Chiropractors.com

Chiropractic and Movement

April 15, 2014

Pasion and hobbies are enrich our lives, and while I have a strong commitment to chiropractic, I must admit that I am passionate about dance and movement.  I really is an extension of the work we do as chiropractors.  The body must move after all and as chiropractors we help facilitate optimal movement.  Recently I posted a narrative on my facebook page of A Spinal Health and Movement Center to a friend of mine who is a professional flamenco dancer.  It is as follows:

Positive effects on flamenco dance patterns are important in learning and memory as it stimulates receptors which afferent neuronal activity in the cerebellum, an important part of the brain that is key in learning and motor activity. Flamenco dance also stimulates receptors which afferent the hippocampus, which is responsible for short-term memory which will relay to long -term storage areas of the cortex. It may also have an stimulating effect and an increase of neurons in the amygdala which is the area of anger and aggression, where a decrease in neurons are usually present in brains of post traumatic individuals and the area of the brain (along with the hippocampus) most affected by trauma and neglect.

The timing and rhythm of flamenco footwork and learning of “Palmas” timing helps to regulate the timing and rhythm of hemispheric integration of left and right hemispheres by incorporating the left hemispheres math numeric qualities and the right hemispheres body awareness and art/tone and substance quality. The integration of both hemispheres via the corpus callosum can be a powerful modality in brain stimulation and afferentation of the brain.

The “Cante” of flamenco is a stimulation modality that is lost in much of today’s sensory experience and will effect both the practitioner and observer in the stimulation of mirror neurons which effect changes in limbic emotional centers and frontal lobe areas to change the affect of both the listener and singer.

A powerful approach would be in early childhood development to have classes of “Cante” where women could sing to their children during pregnancy as the effects of the sound of the mothers voice would impact the child’s neurodevelopment by effecting the mother’s glucocorticoid levels (lowering them) and impacting a positive health effect in the mother while simultaneously improving the neuronal development of the child globally which will have a powerful neurologic impact for the life of the child.

Additionally, a positive social environment and the impact of community may lower stress hormones (gluccocorticoid) levels of an individual thereby improving the immune system and health.

To find out more find us at www.Albuquerque-Chiropractors.com

Ever have sweaty palms, dry mouth, upset stomach, shakiness?  Blame the vagus nerve, or as we used to say in Chiropractic School “going Vagal.”

The vagus nerve is a large cranial nerve in control of autonomic function and the command center nerve for the function of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and the “fight or flight response” that many people have heard of.

Most people don’t know that it controls resting and digestion as well and the body is in constant balance between enough parasympathetic and sympathetic balance and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol will drive it toward sympathetic response.

What that means in our current stressful modern world is that we are in constant adrenaline upregulation and more in a sympathetic state.

Other hormones such as neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and GABA literally lower heart rate, blood pressure, and help your heart and organs slow down.

This is the resting and digesting phase.

All a fine balance.

Imagine you are not a human but a Baboon out in the African wilderness digesting some food or prey, you feel pretty relaxed and happy, heart rate and blood pressure low, organs slow down as blood is shunted from periphery for digestion…life is good.

Suddenly, a larger Baboon approaches with menacing fangs, and loud shriek toward you.  He clearly wants what you have and is challenging you.

Your adrenaline goes up, cortisol spikes, blood is shunted from organs to muscles to prepare to “fight”.

Instinct and stress on Alert!

Do you fight or do you run?

Whatever the decision, this is the stress response that we undergo daily.

Whether its traffic and a car turns onto our right of way, or a boss who wants more of our time, or the taxes that are due, or the many dozens of stressors that happen daily, our sympathetic response in on all the time.

No wonder we are fatigued, stressed, and immunosuppressed.

So what is a solution? Winning the lottery is a nice fantasy, but there are more practical applications to help reduce stress and improve vagal parasymphathetic response.

Exercise, Rest, Sleep, Nutrition are the pillars of stress management.

In addition, at Albuquerque-Chiropractors.com, Massage and Chiropractic care are excellent for relaxing the muscles, decompressing joints, and reducing vagal responses as a result of cortisol hormone over response from daily stress.

At A Spinal Health and Movement Center we try to do our part to help our clients and patients reduce the stressors of life.

Call us at 505-247-2373 to schedule a massage or Chiropractic adjustment today.

 

David vs. Goliath

April 9, 2014

I was recently speaking to my SEO advisor on how to get better Google placement. It seems the large franchises and corporate run Chiropractic companies dominate SEO ranking.  He compared my struggle with David vs. Goliath. Except that Goliath has lot’s of money and I don’t.  So we changed a few things and offered a super online deal and I’m so excited, I just had someone call me on our $19 internet special that we are having this month at  A Spinal Health and Movement Center.  Internet marketing is very expensive, and google adwords really help but for someone that does not have the advertising budget that large companies and corporations have, it can be cost prohibitive.  So having placement on Albuquerque-Chiropractors.com really helps people see where we are and how to find us.  We have been fortunate to have a referral based practice all these many years, and I feel we offer top quality Chiropractic care at an amazingly affordable price, so the only thing missing was how to get more people to see we are here and to come in.

This is a little out of my comfort zone…but no risk, no reward.  I have to be able to compete with the franchises and corporate owned chiropractic centers and this may help give us some exposure.  So stay tuned and watch this little David grow!!!

I have always like to be adjusted on a regular basis, and I always recommend my patients come in once a month or twice a month for adjustments if possible.  At A Spinal Health and Movement Center, I believe in regular maintenance spinal care so much that I work really hard at keeping prices low and affordable.  $35 for a drop in visit including modalities (spinal manipulation, myofascial stretch, electric stimulation) or $49 twice a month including modalities.

Recently we added Massage Therapy to our Chiropractic Practice because although I like to use myofasical stretches and soft tissue release prior to adjustments on my patients, I feel that a longer spa-like experience is needed for some of our patients to de-stress and relax either prior to or post adjustment.  It is a individual preference when one likes to get adjusted, for me, I like to get adjusted regularly (2x a month) and have a massage once a month as a health and stress coping strategy.  I know that this can be expensive for most people to afford, so my mission has been to bring affordable chiropractic and massage wellness programs to my area. Our massage prices vary from $35 for 1/2 hour to $60 for the full hour and it’s worth the price as our setting is spa like and therapeutic. However, keeping prices low is a challenge for sure, but I’m passionate about making this program accessible to as many people as possible because just as  I work hard for a living, I see so many others working hard trying to make it in this economy and putting themselves last on the list because it’s expensive to get Massage and Chiropractic these days in most places.  I’ll keep doing my part for my community for as long as I can.

Here is a study I recently read about the benefits of Massage on Health.  There are many others but it’s a good reminder to take time out whenever possible to care for our health and body.

Another study this year examined 8 women with high blood pressure who’d had an hourlong massage each week for four weeks. At the end of that period, their blood pressure fell by 12 mm Hg systolic (top number) and measurements in the blood reflecting inflammation (specifically VCAM-1 if you like science) fell significantly. A control group just rested for the same amount of time and had smaller improvements in the same measurements. The drop in markers of inflammation is intriguing and suggests massage therapy may have a body-wide healing effect.

 

 

 

Another study this year examined 8 women with high blood pressure who’d had an hourlong massage each week for four weeks. At the end of that period, their blood pressure fell by 12 mm Hg systolic (top number) and measurements in the blood reflecting inflammation (specifically VCAM-1 if you like science) fell significantly. A control group just rested for the same amount of time and had smaller improvements in the same measurements. The drop in markers of inflammation is intriguing and suggests massage therapy may have a body-wide healing effect.

This is and interesting article that I read yesterday showing that there may be more going on with trigger point than previously thought.  It makes sense that the pain would be more of a neuralgic pain and not originating from muscle tissue that needs to be worked out with deep pressure, thumb pressure, stretch, or other techniques that are often used by therapist. The article explains how there is a layer of fat, vascular tissue, smooth muscle, fascia, nerve and connective tissue that is superior to the muscle and likely a source of potential nociception from metabolic and inflamatory markers that may not necessarily be originating from muscle tissue. In fact, the majority of “trigger point” pain may not be muscular pain but nerve entrapment and sensitization of nociceptors from metabolic and inflammation around the area of pain.  It is an interesting read and our hope is to understand further in order to accurately treat pain syndromes.

Dr. Ramirez

Albuqeurque-Chiropractors.com

A Spinal Health and Movement Center (505-247-2373).

 

Secondary hyperalgesia and presynaptic inhibition: an update.
Cervero F1, Laird JM, García-Nicas E.
Author information

Abstract
One of the most prominent features of secondary hyperalgesia is touch-evoked pain, i.e., pain evoked by dynamic tactile stimuli applied to areas adjacent or remote from the originating injury. It is generally accepted that the neurobiological mechanism of this sensory alteration involves the central nervous system (CNS) so that incoming impulses in low-threshold mechanoreceptors from the area of secondary hyperalgesia can evoke painful sensations instead of touch. Some years ago we proposed a mechanistic model for this form of pain based on presynaptic interactions in the spinal dorsal horn between the terminals of low-threshold mechanoreceptors and of nociceptors. Here we review the evidence gathered in support of this model in the intervening years with special reference to experimental studies of antidromic activity (Dorsal Root Reflexes–DRRs) in nociceptive afferents and on the acquisition of low-threshold inputs by nociceptor-specific neurons in the spinal dorsal horn. We also discuss and identify potential molecular mechanisms that may underlie the presynaptic interaction model and therefore that could be responsible for the development of secondary hyperalgesia.

 

Can exercise really prevent back pain?

This is an article that I read some time ago on the different types of exercises that may improve back pain. It is an interesting article and I hope to post more in the future but the The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what you do to exercise as long as you move!

At A Spinal health and Movement Center we are fortunate to have a Gyrotonic studio in our Movement Center are that is owned and operated by Rich O’Connor of GyrotonicAlbq. that is very helpful in rehabilitation but the important point is that the body needs to move and exercise.

How Exercise “Really” Prevents Low Back Pain (Probably)
Posted on May 29, 2012 by Tony Ingram • 15 Comments
It probably won’t surprise you that research generally supports the idea that exercising and being fit can help prevent lower back problems.

But what might surprise you are the reasons why it seems to help.

It’s not what you think!

Yes, exercise prevents back problems.

In 2009, an article was published in The Spine Journal that reviewed research on the prevention of back problems 1. After a comprehensive review, only 20 out of 185 articles fulfilled their criteria as relevant, high-quality research. So what did they find?

The only thing that consistently prevented low back problems was exercise.
– Effect sizes huh? were moderate, which is actually pretty good.
What wasn’t effective? Some very popular ideas:
– Education alone.
– Lumbar (back) supports.
– Shoe orthoses (inserts).
– Reduce lifting loads.
Pretty interesting!

Of course, there are limitations to this research. For instance: what do they mean by education? We’ve seen before that learning how pain works can actually prevent and reduce low back pain in some people. Typically, education for preventing back pain involves “how to avoid hurting your back” videos and classes – but not pain science education. Maybe it’s all about what type of education people receive!

Types might be important? Then what about exercise?

That actually brings to the most important point:

Does it matter what type of exercise people do to prevent back problems?

Apparently not – the research studies on exercise used very different protocols. Some included everything from strengthening + endurance + flexibility + education, while one study simply consisted of “passive extension”. No matter what type of exercise was performed, it generally helped prevent back problems.

The authors of the 2009 review conclude in the final line of their abstract:

“The varied successful exercise approaches suggest possible benefits beyond their intended physiologic goals.”

That’s a powerful statement. The “physiologic goals” of exercise (to improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and even coordination) are probably not the same reasons it has an effect on pain – it’s probably due to other benefits!

Exercise isn’t good for preventing or reducing pain because it “strengthens / conditions your core”, or “improves spinal mobility / flexibility / stability”, or even “improves motor control”.

Core stability experts – don’t get mad at me – check the research: when these highly specialized approaches are formally studied, they are never shown to be any better than “general exercise”. 2, 3, 4, 5

These “physiologic goals” might be important for health, physical function, and athletic performance, but they do not ‘prevent’ or ‘treat’ pain.

Then why does exercise help with pain?

You might be asking yourself: so why does exercise help with pain?

Science to the rescue!

A 2012 article has been published in the journal Pain that reviewed pain perception in athletes 6. They looked at how athletes differ from normally active people when it comes to their pain threshold and pain tolerance. So what did they find?

Athletes tend to have higher pain tolerance than normally active people.
However, their pain threshold didn’t appear to be any better.
So it wasn’t that athletes feel less pain – it’s just that they deal with it better. And this was true for a variety of different types of exercise.

It should be noted that we’re not talking about improved pain tolerance during or immediately after exercise (often attributed to increases in adrenaline, endorphins, or endocannabinoids). We’re talking about pain tolerance in general.

So why do athletes tolerate pain better?

There are a lot of potential reasons – and the authors of the study mention the fact that pain tolerance is strongly influenced by “psycho-social factors”. For example, pain acceptance and coping may be improved through exercise. Exercise may also reduce ‘kinesiophobia’ – a fear of movement, perhaps through graded exposure, and teaching people that it’s okay to move when they have pain.

Of course, it’s probably quite a bit more complicated than that, and there are likely many reasons why exercise is good for pain besides just improved tolerance.

Either way, it seems clear that exercise is good for pain because of its complex effects on biochemistry, neurophysiology, and psychology.

Not because it puts you back together like humpty dumpty.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exercise of any sort probably has its effect on pain through psychology, neurophysiology and biochemistry – but not strength, flexibility, alignment, or stability.

Those things may still be important. But pain is complex. It’s not ’caused’ by damage, and it must be treated with many factors in mind. See the ‘Pain Education‘ section of this site.

This is important to understand so that we keep asking the right questions, keep doing good research, and ultimately help people with their pain.

www.albuquerque-chiropractor.com

 

This is an article that I read some time ago on the different types of exercises that may improve back pain.  It is an interesting article and I hope to post more in the future but the The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what you do to exercise as long as you move!

How Exercise “Really” Prevents Low Back Pain (Probably)
Posted on May 29, 2012 by Tony Ingram • 15 Comments
It probably won’t surprise you that research generally supports the idea that exercising and being fit can help prevent lower back problems.

But what might surprise you are the reasons why it seems to help.

It’s not what you think!
Yes, exercise prevents back problems.

In 2009, an article was published in The Spine Journal that reviewed research on the prevention of back problems 1. After a comprehensive review, only 20 out of 185 articles fulfilled their criteria as relevant, high-quality research. So what did they find?

The only thing that consistently prevented low back problems was exercise.
– Effect sizes huh? were moderate, which is actually pretty good.
What wasn’t effective? Some very popular ideas:
– Education alone.
– Lumbar (back) supports.
– Shoe orthoses (inserts).
– Reduce lifting loads.
Pretty interesting!

Of course, there are limitations to this research. For instance: what do they mean by education? We’ve seen before that learning how pain works can actually prevent and reduce low back pain in some people. Typically, education for preventing back pain involves “how to avoid hurting your back” videos and classes – but not pain science education. Maybe it’s all about what type of education people receive!

Types might be important? Then what about exercise?

That actually brings to the most important point:

Does it matter what type of exercise people do to prevent back problems?

Apparently not – the research studies on exercise used very different protocols. Some included everything from strengthening + endurance + flexibility + education, while one study simply consisted of “passive extension”. No matter what type of exercise was performed, it generally helped prevent back problems.

The authors of the 2009 review conclude in the final line of their abstract:

“The varied successful exercise approaches suggest possible benefits beyond their intended physiologic goals.”

That’s a powerful statement. The “physiologic goals” of exercise (to improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and even coordination) are probably not the same reasons it has an effect on pain – it’s probably due to other benefits!

Exercise isn’t good for preventing or reducing pain because it “strengthens / conditions your core”, or “improves spinal mobility / flexibility / stability”, or even “improves motor control”.

Core stability experts – don’t get mad at me – check the research: when these highly specialized approaches are formally studied, they are never shown to be any better than “general exercise”. 2, 3, 4, 5

These “physiologic goals” might be important for health, physical function, and athletic performance, but they do not ‘prevent’ or ‘treat’ pain.

Then why does exercise help with pain?

You might be asking yourself: so why does exercise help with pain?

Science to the rescue!

A 2012 article has been published in the journal Pain that reviewed pain perception in athletes 6. They looked at how athletes differ from normally active people when it comes to their pain threshold and pain tolerance. So what did they find?

Athletes tend to have higher pain tolerance than normally active people.
However, their pain threshold didn’t appear to be any better.
So it wasn’t that athletes feel less pain – it’s just that they deal with it better. And this was true for a variety of different types of exercise.

It should be noted that we’re not talking about improved pain tolerance during or immediately after exercise (often attributed to increases in adrenaline, endorphins, or endocannabinoids). We’re talking about pain tolerance in general.

So why do athletes tolerate pain better?

There are a lot of potential reasons – and the authors of the study mention the fact that pain tolerance is strongly influenced by “psycho-social factors”. For example, pain acceptance and coping may be improved through exercise. Exercise may also reduce ‘kinesiophobia’ – a fear of movement, perhaps through graded exposure, and teaching people that it’s okay to move when they have pain.

Of course, it’s probably quite a bit more complicated than that, and there are likely many reasons why exercise is good for pain besides just improved tolerance.

Either way, it seems clear that exercise is good for pain because of its complex effects on biochemistry, neurophysiology, and psychology.

Not because it puts you back together like humpty dumpty.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exercise of any sort probably has its effect on pain through psychology, neurophysiology and biochemistry – but not strength, flexibility, alignment, or stability.

Those things may still be important. But pain is complex. It’s not ’caused’ by damage, and it must be treated with many factors in mind. See the ‘Pain Education‘ section of this site.

This is important to understand so that we keep asking the right questions, keep doing good research, and ultimately help people with their pain.