September 30

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How Exercise Science Majors are Helping People Manage Pain

What is an Exercise Science Major?

Exercise science is a degree that studies movement and the body’s associated responses. When pursuing a degree in exercise science, you’ll work to better understand the links between exercise, diet, fitness and health. Today, many students are quickly jumping on the exercise science bandwagon because of their passion for health and fitness, which is why the field has taken off so drastically in recent years. As an exercise science major, your goal is to use your passion for health and fitness to better impact the health habits of individuals. Ultimately, as an exercise science major, it’s your goal to better understand how exercise and the human body work together. This is not only to gain a better understanding of the physiology of exercise but to better understand the benefits and results it can have on the human body.

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Although exercise science sounds relatively simple in theory, it’s a far more complex major than perceived. Several unique disciplines go into the study of exercise science, and each discipline is equally important when it comes to obtaining your degree as a whole. Common disciplines you can expect to learn about throughout your schooling include sports nutrition, exercise physiology, biomechanics, exercise and sports psychology, motor development and kinesiology. Each of these disciplines will equally contribute to your future career in the exercise science field, especially considering the vast range of career opportunities available to future exercise science professionals.

 

How Are Exercise Science Professionals Helping People to Manage Their Pain?

Today, exercise science professionals are helping patients to manage pain through safe and effective means of treatment. When managing pain, many patients have turned to over-the-counter medications and even opioids for treatment. However, some of the risks associated with opioid use called out by the CDC include overdose or development of  an opioid use disorder. In fact, according to a study published by the CDC, from 1999–2014, more than 165,000 people died due to overdoses related to opioid medications. These risks, along with others that could potentially arise, are why the CDC recommends individuals seek out a non-opioid approach to manage their pain. Opioids should be prescribed only to patients in certain situations, such as those suffering from cancer treatments, those receiving end-of-life care or those receiving specialized care due to living with a serious illness.

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Thankfully, there are non-medication-related ways to help patients better manage their pain. Outlined below are three of the unique ways that exercise science professionals are helping patients with their pain management.

 

Exercise

There are several unique benefits associated with exercise that can help patients to better manage their pain. For many years, doctors recommended patients rest and restrict activity when they were dealing with pain of any sort. However, there are unique benefits associated with exercise and its ability to decrease the severity of chronic pain in patients. As we exercise and partake in physical activity, we’re also helping to build up our muscle flexibility and muscle strength, reduce our body’s overall sensitivity to pain and reduce inflammation within the body. In fact, research even suggests that exercise may be extremely beneficial in combating ailments that are typically more difficult to treat such as neck and shoulder pain, and even fibromyalgia.

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Hands-On Therapy

When receiving hands-on therapy, otherwise known as manual therapy, exercise science professionals are working to assess your body and how its movements may be contributing to your higher-than-average level of pain. Manual therapy is a treatment typically provided by physical therapists or occupational therapists to help treat disabilities and musculoskeletal pain. In most scenarios, hands-on therapy involves manipulating the body’s muscles and joints to improve the patient’s pain levels. When receiving hands-on therapy, it’s important to note what positions and movements contribute to your pain so the therapist can better help to create an individualized treatment plan. Hands-on therapy is another unique but extremely beneficial way that exercise science professionals are using to help people to manage their pain without the use of any medications or opioids.

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Education

Last, but certainly not least, exercise science professionals are using their education received throughout their schooling to help patients better manage their pain. Aside from receiving physical therapy and exercising regularly, many exercise science professionals can help patients better manage their pain simply by educating them on things they may have not known previously. For instance, it’s physical therapists’ job to help patients better understand their bodies and to provide them with exercises they can do to improve their pain levels. However, they should also provide them with a solid educational foundation for why they’re prescribing the exercises that they are, so they are better able to understand the reasoning behind their pain. By providing patients with a solid educational foundation on top of any physical or manual therapy, it will help patients to also be able to avoid any future scenarios where they expose themselves to the same, or a similar injury, as well.

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How to Obtain Your Degree in Exercise Science?

If you’re considering pursuing an exercise science degree, you’re not alone! The first step is to find the right school for you. When choosing a school, it’s important to take into consideration what their exercise science physical therapy program will provide you. For instance, at Berry College, they understand that the study of the human body and motion can’t happen while you’re sitting down. That’s why they offer their exercise science students both in-classroom and hands-on educational experiences through internships, collaborative research opportunities and practicums.

 

Regardless of the school that you’re considering attending to receive your exercise science degree, it’s important to ensure they’re providing you not only with in-classroom education but also with hands-on experience to better prepare you for your future career.

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