Anyone who experiences chronic pain knows how debilitating and exhausting it can be. Constantly dealing with pain can be really draining, and doesn’t necessarily make you feel like partaking in exercise. But did you know that doctors actually recommend light exercise as a method of pain relief for patients experiencing chronic pain? Activities such as swimming or yoga that don’t exacerbate existing problems are ideal for building strength and keeping fit, but also for relieving symptoms and pain.
It’s going to take a while to build up to a workout. Try gentle walking or swimming to get some stamina built up, and don’t ever push it too far. A little bit of discomfort is normal, but it shouldn’t be anything that causes you to wince. Once you’ve worked up to it, regular light exercise can become part of a routine of symptom management and an excellent coping strategy. It’s also an aspect of your treatment for which you can take personal responsibility, and don’t require a medical practitioner on hand all the time, which gives you more flexibility and opportunities for enjoyment.
It helps to loosen the joints
Many people who experience chronic pain have problems with their joints such as arthritis or lower back pain from sciatica. A good level of mobility allows the joints to stay loose and also encourages a healthy amount of lubrication which allows them to glide more smoothly, making more exercise possible.
A problem with chronic pain is that it isn’t particularly conducive to strengthening existing muscles, as exercise can initially be very uncomfortable. However, as exercise makes those muscles stronger, people find that they don’t fatigue as quickly, and so are able to persist for longer with everyday tasks and general mobility as a result.
Nervous system winds down
When we exercise, our nervous system gets all fired up to communicate between our brains and our muscles. As a result, after a workout, our nervous system is able to wind down, and we are more able to relax. For people who experience chronic pain, this can make a big difference in their lives.
Improved mood and helps with anxiety
Chronic pain goes hand in hand with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Exercise is promoted by doctors as excellent relief of depression and anxiety symptoms due to the increased blood flow and endorphins. Depression can make symptoms of chronic pain much worse, so it’s important to try to break that cycle.
Endorphins are great pain relief
Not only do endorphins released by regular exercise make us feel happy, but they also act as excellent, free pain relief. After a workout our pain tolerance increases, which can last for a few hours post workout, meaning that chronic pain is lessened. It works in a very similar way to the pain medication prescribed by professionals, without any nasty side effects.
Just remember to pace yourself, take it slowly, and if you’re concerned, ensure you consult a medical practitioner for advice. See what regular light exercise for you and your chronic pain today.