Role of exercise in managing chronic pain
This is the first part of series on role of exercise in managing chronic pain and how to stay motivated with the help of Telehealth.
Those days are long gone when your therapists would tell you to take it easy and keep your body relaxed in bed. You may be advised to rest for a bit, perhaps for a week or so, but you also need to be strongly encouraged to get moving again. Because it is often tough for people with chronic pain to remain as active as possible. Exercise and general physical activity, difficult as it may sound, is a vital part of your treatment plan for chronic pain. On the other hand, inactivity can make chronic pain worse. When you don’t exercise, your body gets out of shape; your muscles lose their conditioning and your pain actually increases because your body isn’t functioning as well as it could.
Resting for short periods can help you with pain; too much rest can actually make it worse and put you at greater risk of injury. It is somewhat proven that regular exercise can reduce pain long term by improving muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. But keeping yourself active in terms of putting your muscles into work and maintaining an exercise routine always work for the betterment of your conditions. Before indulging yourself in any kind of exercise program, always have a talk with your pain specialist about the goals and whether you need the guidance of a physical therapist or other movements professional. Exercises and physical activity not only have benefits in healthy individuals but also have some proven benefits in patients, as listed below;
- Improves the ability to perform daily activities and prevent falls
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves mental health and mood
- Manage body weight and tackles obesity
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic diseases
Apart from all these, exercises may also cause the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Some exercises are easier for certain people with chronic pain to do than others. A physical therapist can help you develop a regular exercise plan that you can stick with, one that isn’t too promising. Your pain, fitness level, and activities you enjoy need to be taken into account before commencing any sort of exercise routine you prepare.
Exercising when you have chronic pain is a confidence-building process — so be patient and keep going. Each step forward and every little piece of success will ultimately lead to a transformational change and would be a catalyst in pain management.