Exercise can play a crucial role in managing chronic pain. While it may seem counterintuitive to engage in physical activity when experiencing pain, regular exercise can provide significant benefits for individuals dealing with some chronic pain conditions.
Here are some key points to consider regarding exercise and chronic pain:
- Consult a professional: Before starting any exercise regimen, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare or exercise and movement professional, or another specialist familiar with your condition. They can provide personalised recommendations and precautions based on your medical history and the specific type of chronic pain you’re experiencing
- Types of exercise: The most suitable type of exercise for chronic pain will depend on your individual condition and physical capabilities. Low-impact exercises such as Pilates, walking, swimming, cycling, and stretching are often recommended. These activities can help improve cardiovascular health, flexibility, and strength without putting excessive stress on the joints. Enjoyment is also key – you’re more likely to continue if you have fun whilst you’re doing it!
- Gradual progression: If you’re new to exercise or have been inactive due to chronic pain, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can exacerbate pain and lead to injuries.
- Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body responds to exercise. If you experience increased pain or discomfort during or after a workout, it may be an indication that you need to adjust your routine. A key part of our group exercise classes in Toowoon Bay is long term education about your body and how it reacts to the movements that we do. This allows you greater control over your workout.
- Mind-body exercises: Mind-body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation can also be beneficial for chronic pain management. These practices focus on breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness, which can help reduce stress and pain perception.
Some of the benefits of exercise for chronic pain include:
a. Strengthening muscles: Appropriate exercises can help strengthen muscles around the affected area, providing better support and reducing strain on joints and tissues.
b. Improved mobility: Stretching exercises can enhance flexibility, reducing stiffness and promoting better range of motion.
c. Release of endorphins: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the brain. This can lead to an overall improvement in mood and a reduction in pain perception.
d. Enhanced circulation: Exercise improves blood flow, which can aid in reducing inflammation and promoting the healing of damaged tissues.