MELT Away Chronic Pain

ORLANDO, Fla. (KFSN) -- Whether it's in the back, head, neck or knees ... chronic pain affects nearly 100 million Americans and can interfere with daily living. Many have tried medications, therapies, vaccines and even surgery to cope and some have found temporary relief. While it might not sound appealing if you are aching, experts say certain forms of exercise will more readily get people back on their feet.

Meegan Descheneaux said, "I swam in the Hudson a mile. I biked 25 miles on my bike, and then I ran a 10k."

These are all things Meegan never thought she'd do again as an adult. Growing up she was active in sports and dance, until chronic lower leg pain slowed her down. She knew exercise was critical to her recovery, but was never exactly sure what would work best.

Meegan told Ivanhoe, "A lot of people think they have to put themselves in pain to get out of pain."

Physical therapists say the opposite is true. The best exercises for people with chronic pain are walking, light weightlifting and hatha, a gentle form of yoga. Meegan found a new program that incorporated some of those principles and worked for her; it's called the MELT method.

"It's simple to learn. It's relatively easy to do and it addresses an entirely different system of the body than exercise and diet," Meegan explained.

With MELT, people use rubber balls and foam rollers to massage and rehydrate the connective tissue, a three-dimensional fluid system in the body that holds up the muscles and bones.

"New science shows us that daily living causes the system to become dehydrated like this sponge, which is cracking, drying, dehydrated," said Meegan.

But does this technique really work? Exercise physiologist at the Florida Hospital, Elizabeth Outlaw, BS, CPT, says at the very least, the foam roller is a great tool for pain relief.

"I always tell all my patients, if you wear heels, use a foam roller every night on your calf to stretch it back out," she said.

Meegan's mother, Linda, a former sufferer from knee pain and a skeptic at first, is now a believer.

"I stood up, and I walked across the floor, and I wanted to dance. I was so happy, because pain was gone and this was real," she told Ivanhoe.

And it's making a real difference in her now pain-free life.
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