This article by the Mail Online intrigued me. Submissives quite often have to endure more than their fare share of pain and I wondered if it that might be a good or bad thing health-wise. It turns out that a bit of discomfort doesn’t do us too much harm… and may actually serve us for the better. It’s an interesting article. PS. In note to the ‘Don’t rush to the loo’ section below, I should just note that sex is much better on a full bladder. Sorry… but you need to know these things… right?
Most of us like being comfortable – sinking into a soft snuggling bed, firing up the central heating now it’s cold, or wearing flat shoes.
But sometimes, research suggests, a little discomfort might be better for your health…
Don’t rush to the loo
If you head to the bathroom as soon as you get the first twinge, or frequently go ‘just in case’, you could be training your bladder to become more sensitive.
As the bladder stretches and fills with fluid, it begins to send nerve signals to the brain. The fuller the bladder, the more frequently it sends signals.
However, if you regularly empty it before it gets full, these nerve signals can malfunction and trigger the need to go earlier.
‘Many bladder problems come from past habits,’ says consultant urologist Zaki Almallah, from the BMI Priory Hospital, Birmingham. ‘Empty your bladder too often and it will start to send signals to your brain sooner. Over time, this could lead to an overactive bladder.’
So head to the bathroom at a point when it feels about seven out of ten on a discomfort scale – i.e. you know you need to go soon, but wouldn’t have to run to get there. If you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, the signal should switch off for a little bit.
‘If you regularly go before you reach a five (that first point when you think: ‘I need to go’), try sitting and waiting for a little longer each time,’ says Mr Almallah.
Skip the cold remedies
Canadian researchers have shown we spread more viral particles when taking painkillers for flu, and may suffer for longer, than if we battle on unmedicated.
One possibility is that drugs lower fever (viruses find it harder to replicate at a body temperature over 37c).
British research has also found that ibuprofen might prolong colds. Professor Paul Little, from the University of Southampton, found those using it were more likely to go back to their doctor with unresolved symptoms.
‘Ibuprofen suppresses inflammation, and it’s possible it also suppresses an important part of the body’s response to infection,’ he says.
Ditch comfy leggings
‘If you wear slumpy clothes, you enter a slumpy mindset which immediately stops you standing up straight,’ says physiotherapist Sammy Margo.
‘If I’m treating people for back pain, I ask them to come in more formal clothes, like trousers and a shirt, as they engage more muscles.’
Also, while they might feel comfy, the Lycra in leggings can lead to weaker muscles. ‘They hold in the quadriceps, buttocks and core, doing some of the job the muscles are supposed to do themselves,’ says Sammy.
‘This switches the muscles off. If you wear them day in, day out, the muscles can lose firmness.’
The potential result: flabby thighs and a saggier stomach.
Switch to cold baths
For aching muscles, it might be tempting to sink into a warm bath, but try a cold shower or sit in a cool bath instead.
Cold is thought to be best for reducing pain and inflammation in muscles that feel hot or ‘angry’ – for instance, after exercising.
Trials at the University of Ulster found that ten minutes soaking in water at a frosty 6c gave the absolute best result at fighting pain.
It may make us feel happier, too. Research by Professor Nikolai Shevchuk, a microbiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in the U.S., suggests cold showers increase levels of endorphins that raise mood.
He suggests spending five minutes slowly lowering the water temperature from warm to about 20c (68f), then spending two to three minutes under the cooler stream.
Grin and bear a headache
Putting up with minor aches rather than taking a pill every time you get a headache could reduce your risk of suffering more frequent attacks.
‘Taking painkillers regularly can make the brain more sensitive to pain signals and actually trigger a condition called medication overuse headache,’ says Dr Manjit Matharu, a neurologist from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.
It’s not known exactly why this occurs, but what is known is that taking simple painkillers such as ibuprofen for 15 days in a month and opiate-based painkillers such as codeine for just ten days in a month can be enough to set it off.
If you really can’t put up with the pain, try a painkilling rub, such as Tiger Balm, which creates sensations of heat that stop pain signals.
Turn down the thermostat
The rise in obesity has coincided with the rise in how warm we keep our houses, research by University College London suggests. ‘While the way we eat and physical activity levels are the most important influences on body weight, there are likely to be other significant lifestyle factors involved, such as temperature,’ says Fiona Johnson, the epidemiologist who led the research.
There are a few reasons temperature and weight might be linked.
First, it’s been shown that exposure to cold can increase amounts of brown fat, which burns calories more readily. Also, when we’re exposed to cold, several biological changes take place to prevent our body temperature dropping and these raise our metabolic rate, adds Dr Johnson.
The good news is you don’t need to sit in freezing temperatures to get results. Japanese researchers at Hokkaido University found spending two hours a day at a temperature of 17c (63f) for six weeks lowered body fat by an average of 5.2 per cent and increased activity of brown fat by 58 per cent.
Try to get a little stressed
The brain creates new brain cells – neurons – during a short bout of stress
While long-term stress is bad for our body, studies have found short bursts of pressure – being late for an important appointment, or having to tackle a work problem with a tight deadline, for example – trigger positive reactions in the body.
Professor Firdaus Dhabhar, a specialist in immunity and stress from Stanford University in the U.S., found that during short bursts of stress, the immune system becomes more efficient at fighting infection.
‘It’s as if it moves the body’s soldiers (the immune cells) from the barracks (organs such as the spleen) to the potential battle field (skin and underlying tissues),’ he says.
Recent research from the University of California, Berkeley, has also shown that the brain creates new brain cells – neurons – during a short bout of stress.
But this stress should last no longer than a few hours, says Professor Dhabhar, adding. ‘You also need to have sufficient down time between stressors for the body to relax.’
Ideally, he says, if you have a stressful morning at work, take a relaxing lunch break or head to the gym before you go back to work.
Pop on your high heels
Your pelvic floor might thank you for it. According to Italian urologist Dr Maria Cerruto, wearing 2in heels activates the pelvic floor muscles, which run horizontally underneath the bladder. This gently works the muscles, helping to increase strength.
This could help reduce risk of problems such as stress incontinence, as the pelvic floor squeezes the urethra, the tube that runs from the bladder to outside of the body, helping to prevent leaks.
It might also help your love life as the pelvic floor contracts during an orgasm. A 2010 study in the International Urogynecological Journal found women with stronger pelvic floor muscles had more frequent orgasms.
Sleep On A Hard Mattress
Spanish researchers studied 84 back pain sufferers and found that those who used softer mattresses were more likely to need painkillers than those on medium-hard beds.
‘Soft beds don’t support the spine in its natural curve,’ says physiotherapist Sammy Margo.
The spine usually has a natural ‘S’ shape, but a soft mattress distorts the spine and causes it to sink in the middle.
‘The abnormal shapes this creates during sleep can lead to an increased risk of pain because it strains the muscles and joints, and can pinch nerves.’
She recommends mattresses that feel about seven out of ten on the hardness scale – like a thick mattress topper placed on the floor.
‘It will take about six to eight weeks to get used to, but after that your back will thank you,’ she says.
Article courtesy of the MAIL ONLINE, written by Helen Foster