For decades, the treatment guidelines for pain were rest and inactivity. In contrast, more recent data shows that exercise may reduce the severity of chronic pain and offer well-established benefits, like improved physical and mental health. Some activities can benefit chronic pain patients, while others can exacerbate pain symptoms. No matter what exercise regimen you choose to manage your pain, start slowly, take breaks, and stop if your pain worsens. Here we will overview exercises for pain management.
Walking is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that can increase strength, endurance, and heart health. If walking is challenging for you, start slow, and work your way up to walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week.
Walking increases blood circulation, bringing oxygen to muscles and relieving stiffness. If you use a walker or a cane, bring it with you for support.
Swimming or Water Aerobics
Exercising in water also provides low-impact cardiovascular benefits without creating much stress on your joints and muscles. In addition, patients suffering from mobility issues may find extra comfort in the water, as the feeling of weightlessness may provide relief.
Swimming has the potential to build stronger muscles in the back, shoulders, legs, and core while causing minimal impact to your spine. Additionally, swimming can improve coordination, balance, and posture, which may lessen the risk of further injury.
Cycling can strengthen your heart and lungs and improve muscle function. Compared to high-impact exercises, cycling tends to produce less stress on your weight-bearing joints, like your hips, knees, and feet. It also can reduce pain and stiffness by lubricating your joints through movement.
Patients who need to work at lower intensities can go slower, coast occasionally, and use lower gears. No matter your intensity level, research shows that the benefits of cycling remain.
Yoga is one of few activities that focus on mental and physical fitness. In addition to using movements to stretch and strengthen muscles, yoga’s holistic approach incorporates breathing exercises and meditation.
You can modify yoga poses to accommodate your level of strength, flexibility, and physical limitations. Options include:
- Chair yoga
- Using a wall for balance
- Using yoga props to make poses more accessible
Ask your instructor about your specific challenges so that they can offer appropriate modifications. Know that some soreness a day or two after an unfamiliar workout is normal and means your muscles are reacting appropriately to exercise.
Whenever you incorporate new exercises for pain management into your routine, it’s best to discuss your plans with your healthcare provider. For more health awareness blogs, please visit www.stemedix.com/blog.