Chronic pain is defined as “pain that typically lasts >3 months,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although everyone experiences chronic pain differently, for many it can be unbearable. Whether mild or excruciating, there are different treatments to try: medicine, massage, or acupuncture, for instance. One or more of these, or other treatments, may work for some. However, they don’t work for everyone. The best, easiest, and maybe the first thing you should try is exercise. Give it a shot! You don’t have to run a marathon, complete a triathlon, or participate in any other extreme activity. In addition to relieving some of your pain, stretching and movement can build muscle and help with flexibility. It can even help with your psychological and emotional states. Many people have found physical movement to be helpful in easing at least some of their pain. Unfortunately, no miracle can be promised. So, what are some of these extraordinary exercises? Away. We. Go!
Physical Activity to Ease Your Pain
You should really try to stop and do stretches every day—at least one time during the day. Stretching is fantastic—and most people can handle stretches on some level. Stretching encourages your tense, tight muscles to loosen up; while also increasing and improving your flexibility and range of motion.
Concentrating on your breathing, plus the meditation and movement aspects of yoga can contribute to the reduction of many psychological and physical symptoms. In addition to lessening your pain, yoga can expand awareness, stamina, and strength. It can also help you pull off a restful 8 hours of zzzs.
In addition to helping with chronic pain, strength training is a crazy good way to build and strengthen your muscles. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about Rambo or anything; you’ll be using much lighter weights! This kind of training is a great way to prevent bone loss, and it will help with your posture and balance. To start off, it’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer. She or he can help with what weights to use, how to use them, and how often you should be training.
Walk this way…by yourself, with a friend, or with your dog. Yes, walking is yet another terrific way to help alleviate some of your chronic pain. It’s considered a low-impact aerobic activity—it will help with stiffness and boost your energy. You can walk outside when the weather is ideal. When it’s not, a mall is a great place to go. Some malls even open early, before the stores open—so walkers can claim the territory until the oft fervent shoppers stream in.
Water aerobics—you talk about fun, and effective! If you can find a great instructor and heated pool, this will be one of your all-time favorite activities. You’ve got your positives: fun, relaxes your muscles, easy on the joints, and pain relief. And…your negatives: chlorine and being seen in a bathing suit. Some communities offer water aerobics classes. You can also check with your city or county to see if they offer any classes. Try it out—you won’t regret it. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
Body Conditioning = Best Remedy
Chronic pain can lead to anxiety and depression. Most people agree that their mood is lifted when exercising. It’s not a cure-all, but it can definitely improve a great deal of assorted problems. Any form of exercise will make your body secrete endorphins, which helps with the pain. Don’t begin by doing anything too strenuous—start off slow. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself, or make your chronic pain even worse. You can gradually increase your speed or intensity if you choose to do so. Remember, the key is to just get going and start exercising. Don’t push it too hard. Be kind to your body.