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CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Gone are the days when physicians would advise pain patients to stay in bed and rest. Exercise be the last thing you feel like doing, but physical activity is a pillar of good health and a might crucial factor in managing chronic pain.

Stock image | Photo by Albina Gavrilovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St George News

For most chronic pain sufferers, staying active is just what the doctor ordered. The providers at Desert Pain Specialists help patients navigate the activities they’re capable of doing and empower them to set their own goals in accordance with their pain treatments.

“Motion is lotion,” interventional pain management specialist Dr. Steven Larsen said. “When people want to be healthy for a long time, there are no shortcuts. You have to move your body in the correct way.”

Larsen said that to understand the importance of staying active, one must consider evolution. Throughout history, mankind was always on the move as a matter of necessity. It wasn’t until the past few centuries that new transportation options enabled society to become more sedentary.

“Our bodies are evolved to need physical movement, and when we don’t provide that, they start to break down,” he added.

Larsen explained that many of his pain patients are already active, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re participating in the right activities. Anything involving repetitive movement that places the joints under high stress is likely to cause more harm than good. Patients are encouraged to discuss their activities with a Desert Pain provider during their consultation.

A welcome waiting room greets guests at Desert Pain Specialists, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Jeff Hauck courtesy of Desert Pain Specialists, St George News

Many patients are trapped in a vicious cycle of experiencing pain and then stopping specific activities or favoring a certain part of their body to try and eliminate that pain. While they may be successful in temporarily avoiding pain, Larsen said they’re actually creating an imbalance of movement and/or posture that can lead to more serious issues over time. The pain can worsen, or a new pain may develop.

“Then you avoid another activity and your movement becomes even more impaired, and it continues to devolve into more pain and less movement,” he added.

Instead of avoiding activities and movements that trigger pain, Larsen recommends seeking treatment to identify the cause right away. Chronic pain, especially in older adults, doesn’t always mean that something’s wrong with a particular area of ​​the body; rather, it can be triggered by improper nerve signals.

Unlike acute pain caused by a sudden injury, movement in and of itself may be the best medicine for chronic pain patients, even if it’s uncomfortable at first.

Desert Pain has created a network to connect patients with experts throughout the area who can further their healing beyond procedures to treat pain, including physical therapists and chiropractors. Their providers also frequently recommend low-impact alternatives for staying active, such as yoga, swimming, water aerobics and tai chi.

“Our goal is to help people in the short term with procedures to reduce their pain, and also in the long run by making sure that they’re hitting all those foundational objectives that they can control,” Larsen said. “We look at ourselves as primary care doctors for pain, a central hub for people in treating their pain.”

A treatment room with a view at Desert Pain Specialists, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Jeff Hauck courtesy of Desert Pain Specialists, St George News

Some patients are able to increase their activity level quickly after pain treatment, while others need a more gradual return to movement. But Larsen said there’s no such thing as too little motion, and every step in the right direction is a victory. Although every patient’s circumstances are unique, only a very small percentage won’t benefit from increased physical activity.

Offering unmatched quality of service, the specialists at Desert Pain are dedicated to helping Southern Utahns find relief by delivering more than might be expected: more locations, more communication and more care. Their providers work to improve patient quality of life through innovative pain management solutions. They treat all types of acute and chronic pain, including back pain, neck pain, abdominal pain, sciatica, sports injuries, migraines and neuropathy.

“I tell patients that if they have any problems from their toes to their nose, we can help them,” Larsen said. “Simply put, here at Desert Pain, we do the right thing for the patient.”

Call 435-216-7000 or visit the Desert Pain website to schedule an appointment today.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St George News.



  • Desert Pain Specialists | Telephone: 435-216-7000 | E-mail: [email protected] | site.
  • locations:
    • St. George: 617 E. Riverside Drive, Suite 301.
    • Hurricane: 48 S. 2500 West, Suite 110.
    • Cedar City: 1760 N. Main St.
    • Beaver: 68 N. Main St.
    • Panguitch: 200 N. 400 East.
    • Kanab: 348 N. 300 West.
    • Delta: 126 White Sage Ave.
    • Fillmore: 65 N. Main St.
    • Mesquite, NV: 340 Falcon Ridge Parkway, Suite 600.
    • Overton, Nevada: 475 N. Moapa Valley Blvd.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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