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In Pain? Get Moving! Movement IS Medicine

By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - November 19, 2018

If you look back through the evolution of human beings, you will see that we were never meant to live sedentary lives and live in cement cities and in cement boxes.  The very nature of our existence and survival depended on our physical ability to perform tasks, move and run.  At times, when your body is injured or is in pain, it is because it is not getting the blood flow, oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal and survive.  The physical act of moving can be healing. Movement IS Medicine. The act of physical movement is engrained in our DNA. If you saw any animal in nature that didn't move much, you would think to yourself, "Is it injured or dying?"   

Since the first humans walked the earth until about 10,000 BC, humans lived with a constant fear of having to "run for their life" humans have never been known to be sedentary beings (until recently). At that time, humans were nomadic hunter-gathers.  One’s physical demands consisted of walking/running, the manipulation of tools and natural objects (rocks, tree limbs, etc.), and the physical need for "defense". To survive a harsh environment with both natural and human obstacles and enemies, the early humans had excel at running,  walking, balancing, jumping, crawling, climbing, lifting, carrying, throwing/catching things, and fighting. 

From 10,000 to 8,000 BC, the Agricultural Revolution changed the physical demands placed upon humans dramatically.  The transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer to farmer led to new demands of growing food and raising cattle which meant a lot of physical chores and labor. These tasks were repetitive with a more limited range of movement than needed before.

With the domestication of the horse in 3500 BC, humans then had other assistance to travel distances aside from their own feet.  However, even the physical act of riding a horse requires the body to be in a good physical shape.  Having a strong, healthy physical body was one of human's greatest assets.  When it came to war in later times between 4,000 BC and 400 AD, it was those people were physically the strongest that prevailed.  Movement was a necessity for survival, until modern times.

We now live in cement cities with automobiles that can transport us anywhere.  A person in today's world could still survive without taking  one step in a day. We have the ultimate luxury of doorstep delivery of food, household items, and the internet, where you can acquire pretty much anything you desire.   

Humans were not meant to be stationary beings.  Our bodies are equivalent to very complex and fancy machines. Imagine a fancy sports car.  If it just sat there for years and you never drove it or took it to the mechanic, it most likely wouldn't work very well the next time you turned it on.  In the human body, when there is no blood flow or nutrients getting to an area, tissue, or organ, that body part will slowly start to die.  This vital blood flow brings the oxygen and nutrient to the area.  The body has been designed beautifully, in such a way of adapting, conserving energy, and conserving resources for survival purposes.  For example, if there were certain muscle groups that the ancient human used more than others, the one that weren't being used would therefore get less blood flow and start to become smaller.  This concept can be applied to an injury.  Let's say you injured your shoulder.  If you don't move your shoulder after it is injured, there is less blood that flows to the area and less oxygen that flows to the area.  This leads to increasing the chances this injury will never heal and or may get worse. Sometimes, the shoulder actually gets rigid or "frozen" in this exact situation. This doesn't mean that rest is never needed , it means that the healing process requires movement for blood flow, nutrients, and reintegration of the nervous system to the area.  

Aside from movement helping a specific injury, movement can be medicinal and healing for back pain or for stress. Take the example of Yoga. Yoga has been shown through many studies to reduce back pain, improve posture, and decrease stress, depression and anxiety.   That sure sounds like medicine to me.  

So, next time you reach for the medicine bottle or haven't moved much in a day, get yourself moving instead.  If you have an injury or pain that just won't heal, FORM Medical can help! Check out or give us a call today at 720-370-9559.