Controlling Chronic Pain with Exercise

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  • Controlling Chronic Pain with Exercise

Pain can be classified broadly into two types: acute and chronic pain. Although acute pain is more severe in intensity, chronic pain can be very difficult to manage. Chronic pain is a type of pain that will persist in a certain area for a very long period of time. Chronic pain be be on its own or come with other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc…where the pain will persist and the recovery period for this type of pain is also very long or never ending. There are many ways in which you can manage chronic pain. Physiotherapy is a very popular choice. Controlling pain through medicines is another option, but managing chronic pain with high dosages of medication is very difficult not only because of what the long terms affects of the medication can do to the other parts of your body but also the emotional dependency that one has to deal with too. However, I know that some people have no choice to go this route, but if you do have a choice and want to try another way to independently manage your pain, try exercise. One of the top ways of controlling chronic pain and have a higher quality of life is through exercise. Here is an insight into how chronic pain can be managed by exercise.

Assisted exercise or stretching

Why is Exercise Effective?

The causes of chronic pain can be broadly classified into two types. It can be caused by the weakening or damage of the muscles, or other constituents of that particular area in which you are experiencing pain. Another reason might be an injury or the stiffening of the bone, muscle, or cartilage in the affected area. In both cases, exercise will definitely help. In case of damage, exercise will help in improving the blood flow and cell activity in that area, which in turn leverages the healing power of the body to relieve the pain. In case of stiffening, exercise will help in stimulating the muscles or body parts to be mobile and reduces the pain.

Type of Exercises

It is always better to take the help of a professional when you are deciding on the exercise that will relieve you from chronic pain. The bottom line is that the exercise you do should affect the area in which you experience pain and should help in healing or strengthening that area. A physiotherapist or even a professionally qualified doctor can give you advice on the type of exercises that can help you in managing chronic pain.

Intensity of Exercise

A factor that you should keep in mind when you are performing exercises to control chronic pain is that you are stimulating a damaged region of your body. So, the exercise must not be too intense or hard. The exercise should be sufficient to cause a certain amount of stress on the affected part to stimulate growth. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too intense as it can cause further damage to the already damaged part and further aggravate the problem you have. Again, consult with your doctor.

Persistence is the Key

Many people have this habit of starting off the exercise and then abandoning it because it doesn’t produce results quickly. The fact is that exercise is a very slow process and it takes a lot of time to actually give you some relief. But you should persist with the exercise and ensure that you stick to the exercise schedule. In the initial stages, you will experience a little discomfort but that is a part of the process.

A Parting Word of Caution

You should be very careful when you are exercising to get relief from chronic pain. Keep in touch with your doctors/physical therapist/or qualified professional and report any pain or discomfort immediately. The doctor will warn you if it is a cause for worry or if it is the normal reaction to the exercise. Remember, the doctor’s word should be followed to the letter.

Personal Experience with Chronic Pain and Exercise

A loved one of mine deals with chronic pain. She finds relief in the consistency of exercise. I hope you too can find relief with the right type of exercise qualified by your physician. This post is just an encouragement to seek expert advice in this area if you have not done so already. If you have, and have found a way to manage your chronic pain with exercise, it would be great for you to share how and offer words of encouragement for others who may be in your similar situation.

One Comment

Lawrence Fagan
June 25, 2013

Thank you for the information Lauren! I know the pain and the fatigue associated with fibromyalgia is very real and can be debilitating. I hope anyone suffering from chronic pain can find comfort and a way to manage it through these types of resources.

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