Turn to exercise instead of pills for ailments - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Turn to exercise instead of pills for ailments

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PHOENIX -

When your back or knee hurts, your first thought might be to reach for some pain medicine.

But what if you could ease the pain by exercising?

Running, cycling and pumping iron can all leave your muscles a little soar, but did you know that exercise can also help treat your aches and pains?

Dr. Bogdan Anghel specializes in rehabilitation and pain management.

He says our inclination to simply "pop a pill" is a growing problem.

"There's an epidemic of overuse of narcotic medications to deal with pain symptoms because it's probably the most effective way to accomplish that," said Anghel.

Effective, and potentially dangerous.

Pain killers have a slew of side effects and long term overuse can lead to addiction.

That's why Anghel advocates exercise as an alternative, or supplement, to medication.  

Corrective exercise specialist Richard Morris agrees.

"Part of recovery is blood flow we want to get blood to the injury to the tight muscles because within the blood contains those nutrients specifically the oxygen that helps the muscles to recover," said Morris.

Exercise also releases endorphins, which can help to ease chronic pain.

Morris shared exercises (linked on the right) that target the areas that ail us most.

Anghel says therapy exercises often work best when combined with other treatments, like physical therapy, massage therapy or alternative medicine.

Whatever you choose, the key is to start moving and commit to do it regularly.

"Just getting off the couch and walking moderate distances and for other individuals who are able to run running or swimming great forms of exercise," said Anghel.

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