One of the most common reasons we experience pain in our joints and muscles is from overuse. Whether it is through overdoing at the gym, at home, or in the yard, we have all experienced pain when we over-exert our muscles but are you aware that you can experience pain by under-using your muscles?
The truth is there can be serious consequences to our bodies from inactivity. In fact, studies have concluded a clear connection between inactivity and chronic pain. This condition has been given the term “disuse syndrome” which refers to the changes that happen in the body as a result of being sedentary or inactive.
Disuse syndrome has been known to cause deterioration of the musculoskeletal system. When a muscle is not being used regularly, the muscle will begin to atrophy, (the process of wasting away, especially as a result of the degeneration of cells). The clearest example of this is when someone has a cast removed from one of their arms or legs. Usually, the immobilized limb is much smaller than the other due to a lack of exercise.
The same logic applies to the other muscles of the body. The less frequently the muscles in our body are used, the smaller and weaker they become. This decrease in muscle mass and strength can lead to chronic pain in the body. Disuse syndrome is a well-known cause of chronic back pain. When the muscles that are meant to hold the weight of the body become weak, the weight of the body falls on the skeletal system, specifically the spine. This can lead to degeneration and chronic back pain.
The best way to avoid or reverse the effects of disuse syndrome is through physical activity. It is also an excellent way to manage and decrease already existing pain. Regular exercise and the proper diet are the essential tools you need to combat chronic pain and maintain your good health.
If you suspect that your pain in your body is the result of disuse syndrome, speak to your doctor about how you can incorporate more physical activity in your lifestyle and reduce your chronic pain.
If you would like to make an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.