The very definition of chronic pain implies the difficulties that patients have with day to day activities. It can be hard to add physical activity into a daily routine where you find yourself battling painful symptoms. However, research has shown that the right exercise can actually help alleviate chronic pain and restore the overall balance of your mental health. For chronic pain and exercise, the key is to start slowly, with expert guidance. Follow these guidelines to get started.

Talk to your doctor

Before you start anything physical, talk to your pain specialist. Learn about the exercises that are safe to do with your particular condition. They may also be able to give you advice for staying safe while being active. They can also refer you to a trainer who has experience working with individuals with chronic pain.

Start slowly

Never jump from nothing to trying to run 15 miles a day or lifting 200 pound weights. Pushing yourself is good, but pushing yourself too far can be very bad. Start by adding simple exercises to your daily routine. Go for walks. Incorporate a yoga video into your mornings. Even cleaning your house or doing laundry can provide you with some physical activity.

Listen to your body

The saying is “no pain, no gain.” This is true to an extent. It is important to push through some of the pain to start gaining the benefits of physical activity. However, only you know your body. If you start to feel dizzy, take a rest. Make sure you stay hydrated as you exercise and don’t be afraid to take breaks. If you start experiencing any sharp pains, back off and talk to your doctor about how to proceed.

Be social

Working out with friends or family can not only encourage you to get moving but it can also lift your spirits. Group activities can help clear your head and keep you on track. Go for walks at night with your spouse and your dog. Join a local gym with a friend and take yoga or martial arts classes. Try low impact exercises that encourage participation.

Chronic pain and exercise don’t seem to go together, but exercise can be extremely beneficial for reducing some of the symptoms associated with chronic pain. How will you get started? 

Image by Timothy Takemoto via Flickr


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