May is Pelvic Pain Awareness Month

Pelvic pain can be defined as chronic pain (experienced for more than 6 months) that is not menstrual (period pain for females). Pelvic pain affects both men and women and can present as some of the following symptoms:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Painful penetration
  • Painful orgasm
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Generalized pelvic pain
  • Post surgical pain
  • Prostatitis
  • PCOS/Endometriosis
  • Scar tissue pain
  • Yeast infections & Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation & bowel disorders
  • Postpartum pain

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The National Institute of Health (NIH) calls pain “a critical national health problem” because chronic pain is “the most common reason for medical appointments.” In addition, chronic pain accounts for more than $100 billion each year in health care and lost productivity in the U.S.  Chronic pain affects more than 50 million Americans per year. Pain often results in disability and, even when not disabling, it has a profound effect on the quality of life (NIH – Program Announcement PA-07-282). Chronic pain can be debilitating, interfere with daily activities and lead to depression. Here are a few tips you can add to your toolbox to combat chronic pain and the limitations it can present in your life:
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Train Like A Pro!  Monitor Your Maximum and Target Heart Rates

Improve your level of cardiovascular fitness by learning how to determine your maximum and target heart rates.  Here’s how:

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.  For example, if you are a 50 year old, that would be 220 minus 50 (170 beats per minute).  To determine your target heart rate, you must take your pulse during exercise.  It’s easier than it sounds.  If you do not have a wearable device, just stop during exercise and take your pulse.  You will find your pulse point on the side of your neck or on your wrist.  Count the number of beats per second for the first 15 seconds, then multiply this number by 4.  If you are a member at a gym, most exercise machines will do this function for you.

What Are The Benefits? Individuals who are normally sedentary can reap the benefits from exercising at 60% of their maximum heart rate!  For example, for a 50 year old, this would be 170 times 0.6, or 102 beats per minute.  At the onset of your program, you should aspire to maintain your target heart rate for approximately 20 minutes.  As you progress and become more fit, this 60% can be increased to 75%.  A little bit at a time adds up in no time at all.  Just be patient!  This is how all those Rio Olympians began their journey…dream big and go far!