When you are suffering from pain, your first reaction is to lie down and rest. This is good for acute pain but it can prolong your chronic pain. Chronic pain is something that can last for months or even years. Being active will actually benefit your pain and prevent your pain from worsening.
Why we need to exercise when we have chronic pain?
When you have chronic pain, you would want to avoid activities that can cause pain. This is a common thought that people with chronic pain have. Over time, people with chronic pain may have more difficulty performing daily activities or even walking. That might further discourage you to be active. However, there is a way to maintain your ability to continue everyday life.
Research has shown that exercise can be an effective way to reverse this downward cycle of deconditioning and worsening pain. They found that people who exercise and stay flexible manage their pain much better than those who don’t. With light exercises suitable to your condition, you can engage more in activities that bring you joy and contentment.
Exercise can improve your pain threshold. That means you can be more tolerant to pain.
Exercise can have this effect thanks to cardiovascular, strengthening, and flexibility training.
Some of the benefits of exercise on chronic pain are:
- Reduced flare ups;
- Reduced fatigue;
- Improved mood;
- Improved symptoms associated with depression and anxiety;
- Improved sleep quality;
- Improved posture.
Which exercise is best for chronic pain?
The best approach is to combine multiple forms of exercise, including:
- Stretching exercises like yoga and tai chi. Both forms of exercise that enhance flexibility and range of motion, can help soothe pain.
- Strengthening exercises or resistance training such as squats; wall push ups or bicep curls build joint-supporting muscles to help reduce chronic pain. Your doctor or physical therapist may tell you to build muscle using weights, resistance bands, water exercises, or even your own body weight.
- Cardiovascular exercises, such as low-impact aerobic workouts, cycling, swimming, and walking. In one study, people with knee osteoarthritis who participated in a walking program felt less pain after just eight weeks.
It is important to start slowly when you first start exercising. You should monitor your pain while exercising to avoid pushing into stronger pain. It’s the best if you have a professional to check on your progress and guide you through the exercises. You can consult your doctor before starting an exercising program.
Here are a few tips to start your exercise:
Consult the pros. Get a professional to plan your plan if you don’t know when to start.
Start small. Instead of targeting the pain area, you should start simple exercises that work on your entire body.
Push past your pain. At first there might be pain when you exercise. However, try to work past it and don’t be discouraged.
Bring a workout buddy. Two is better than one. Having someone there to encourage you can be helpful to keep you motivated and keep you on track.
Remember that ‘Exercise is Medicine!’ You can exercise daily to manage your pain condition. If you don’t know where to start or if you worry that you might hurt yourself, your doctor can advise you on the best activities for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.