Exercise Helps with Chronic Pain
Research shows exercise is an essential aspect in the treatment of chronic pain. With reduced activity, the muscles lose tone and can slowly atrophy. Any increase in muscle tone can help stabilize the body and support the skeletal system. Exercise helps with chronic pain because it releases endorphins to the brain which help heal the body.
Exercising does not mean a gym membership. One of the best functional exercises is just walking. It can be as simple as walking around your home, or utilizing more arm movement, range of motion. Make sure you regularly do exercises and stretches from any therapist you see. Perhaps it will begin as walking to the corner and back, then walking around the block. Slow and consistent progress is the goal. Your only competition is the person in your mirror.
"I began my journey towards recovery at the age of 52, on disability and weighing 212lbs. The most I had ever weighed in my life, before my back injury in 1987, was 143lbs. One day I looked at my body and decided that the weight was not doing my back any good. The excess weight was putting additional strain on my back. Unable to exercise and using no special diet I began my journey based on a conversation with a physical trainer I came across. Basically, he said to go back to what man originally consumed which was meat, vegetation, and water. I cut out dairy, carbs, sweets and fortunately, I had already developed a love of drinking water about 90% of the time. Over the course of 12-15 months, the weight kept dropping. One day, for whatever reason, 165lbs came to mind. I had never weighed that actual number, however, one day I was on the scale and it was 165lbs. I decided to lose another 10lbs. For over the past 2 years I have been between 155 and 158lbs.
Confession: I did a poor job following the change in eating. It was a real struggle so I understand what one feels when facing this. Also, today my eating habits are not as good as they should be - but I'm working on it. It is all about starting, and then committing to the person you see in the mirror."
~ Jory Pradjinski
Please check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise or stretching program in case a movement needs to be avoided or an exercise needs to be modified.
We do not state, claim, or represent that any exercise and/or stretches will reduce or eliminate pain.
In addition, we want you to focus on your overall health without overexerting yourself.
Benefits of Exercise
Not only does exercise help in reducing pain, but also helps with engaging in enjoyable activities and regular life tasks. Exercise helps to keep your joints moving well, muscles strong, and improve mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Other benefits include improved blood pressure, heart efficiency, metabolism, and energy. Exercise has also been shown to help with sleep problems because active individuals are able to reach a deeper level of sleep for a longer period of time.
Inactivity Can Lead to Other Problems
Inactivity can lead to a "pain cycle" of more pain through tight and weak muscles and increased fatigue. Experts recommend around 150 minutes of physical activity each week. However, if that's too much for you, just start out slowly and work up to it. Any form of exercise is better than none.
Here Are Some Tips on Getting Started with Exercising for Chronic Pain Sufferers
- Consult your doctor or physician before starting any exercise or stretching program.
- Start with some basic exercises or stretches that you are comfortable with and work up to more advanced exercises over time.
- Go at your own pace, don't compare what you are doing to what someone else is doing, just 10-20 minutes of exercise can be effective.
- Don't overexert yourself it will just strain your muscles and worsen your pain. If you need to take a break, due to severe pain, then take it, you are allowed to care for yourself. Just don't give up on an exercise plan altogether.
- Accept that some days you will be able to do more than other days.
- Keep up with a routine exercise plan and track your progress.
- Drink plenty of water and eat healthy (avoiding processed foods).
- Consider adding in relaxation activities like massages or baths.
- Make sure you have the proper equipment such as good walking shoes, a yoga mat, or anything your doctor prescribes.
- Stretch after a workout to prevent sore muscles and get rid of waste products. Don't stretch before, instead of warm up muscles with dynamic movements before exercising.
There are a lot of exercise options no matter what body you have, your condition, your pain level, or your financial situation. You can consult a physical therapist if you are unsure of what exercises or stretches you should try for your condition.
According to research, some great exercises for people with Severe Chronic Pain include:
Kelly. (2014, April 16th). You Brew My Tea/How to Exercise When Your Have Chronic Pain.
Richeimer, Steven, MD. Spine Universe/7 Tips for Exercising When You Have Chronic Pain.
Amirpour, Sanaz. (2016, October 3rd) Chronicality/The 5 Best Exercises for Chronic Pain.
Tatta, Dr. Joe. (2016, December 28th) Dr. Joe Tatta; Reset Your Brain for a Pain-Free Life/How and Why to Exercise with Chronic Pain.