Treating pain and getting fit

The January Healthy Woman Ladies Night Out event featured a pain management doctor and two fitness instructors who informed a crowd of 200 women about treating pain and getting fit. Club Paradise Fitness Express hosted the evening at Fallbrook Library, providing a healthy, light dinner.

In a humorous presentation, Dr. Richard Weiner covered the most common types of pain from head to toe, starting with headaches from muscle tension and migraines. He then moved down to the neck and cervical spine where the discs degenerate as the body ages. Problems in the neck area can cause pain in the arms and shoulders which can also experience pain from overuse. “The pain tells you are getting old; but you already knew that,” he said.

Weiner’s pain management options include medications, injections, and physical therapy. Anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers can be used to deal with pain or cortisone can be injected into the affected area. If muscles are not used for awhile for any reason, they become deconditioned and need to be built back up with exercise he said.

According to Weiner, just about everyone over the age of 40 has a back problem. Weak bones can lead to compression fractures which he can fill with a kind of cement to repair them, but the best treatment is prevention to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place, he added. A slipped disc can cause leg pain as can sciatica. Muscle sprains require ice, elevation and an anti-inflammatory, and in general get better on their own.

Local anesthetics can be used for bursitis but tendinitis is treated with an anti-inflammatory, a splint and rest. “The older you get, the more rest it takes,” Weiner said, adding “a Healthy Woman has to know her limitations.”

When asked about fibromyalgia, Weiner explained that for a person (almost always a woman) with the condition, “any little pain is really intense.” His recommended treatment includes good sleep, muscle conditioning, and water aerobics. He quoted a doctor friend of his, “motion is the lotion” that make the muscles work smoothly. He also warned that narcotics sensitize the body to pain, decreasing pain intolerance.

Weiner does work with chiropractors, and said that acupuncture works well in reducing pain, but “it is like Chinese food – it’s good but doesn’t last that long.”

The program was then turned over to Eva Leslie from Club Paradise Fitness. Several ladies from her Zumba class joined her up front to dance to three lively songs, demonstrating what they do in class. Leslie then reviewed the results of a survey she did with her class on its benefits. Her ladies wrote that they like losing weight and inches, are feeling more fit, are having fun and more energy as well as sleeping better because of the class.

The last presenter was Sandra Buckingham and she gave a lesson in chair yoga. She conducts the class in the Silver Sneakers program at Club Paradise Fitness. The music was more relaxing as she led the ladies in concentrating on inhaling and exhaling while doing stretching exercises which strengthen and balance the abdominal muscles.

More than 30 area businesses partners work with Fallbrook Hospital to support the Healthy Woman program which is free and open to women of all ages. For more information, visit or call (760) 731-8432.

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