Pain, fatigue, and their attendant symptoms are the enemies of physical activity. People who suffer from chronic pain are apt to avoid exercise or any kind of exertive motion in the belief that such movement would only worsen their condition. Consequently, their response to illness and the lasting presence of physical discomfort is to rest, perhaps unaware that resting for too long will only exacerbate symptoms and make it much more difficult to regain an active physical regimen. Fatigue grows, and even one’s organs, nerves, and muscles are negatively affected. Worrying about pain creates a state of persistent anxiety that only furthers the cycle of pain, whereas brief periods of activity followed by rest is the best way to break the cycle.
People who suffer from chronic pain need exercise, even though it may be only limited activity based on the state of their health and the nature of their condition. Exercise has the effect of reducing the way one perceives pain and increasing their range of motion, though it’s important to take it slow at first and follow doctor’s orders.
Take a walk
A low-impact exercise like walking is just what people with chronic pain need. It’s a form of physical exercise you can derive tremendous benefit from by going at your own pace, one that doesn’t aggravate your pain response but provides a good cardio workout. You can do it just about anywhere, around the neighborhood, at the mall, in a parking lot, or up and down a flight of stairs at work or home. Furthermore, studies have shown that walking can strengthen the immune system, keep your cognitive functioning sharp and, most importantly for people with chronic pain, reduce stress (stress is a primary trigger of the pain response). Walking is especially beneficial for people with lower back and joint pain.
Concentrated breathing and meditative exercises are known to be effective strategies for controlling pain. Breathing, which is central to the practice of yoga, may be more helpful than its physical component when it comes to mitigating pain. Like walking, which is a simple and easy-to-do form of exercise, meditative breathing is something that anyone can do, though the help of a yoga instructor is important in helping one get the most out of the experience. Yoga can be a valuable ally for people in chronic pain, and many can benefit from the discipline of its mind-body connection.
Light weight and resistance training
By setting up a home gym and utilizing equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, and a yoga mat, you’re well set for getting the exercise you need and minimizing pain. Weight training is known to be an excellent form of exercise for people suffering from arthritis. It strengthens joints and reduces stress. As with any exercise, it’s important not to do too much. Begin by working with 1-ounce to 10-pound weights, unless you experience undue pain from your efforts. If there are no weights handy, try objects like soup cans or a bag with a handful of golf balls.
Fibromyalgia sufferers have long known about the benefits of aerobic exercise. It has the dual effect of alleviating painful symptoms while enhancing motion and cardio-pulmonary functioning. From a pain management standpoint, aerobics activates the brain’s capacity to reduce pain and enhances joint and muscle flexibility.
Exercise is widely known to be an effective way to break the cycle of pain and inactivity for people who suffer from chronic pain and fatigue. Physical activity followed by brief periods of rest are the best way to overcome the debilitating effects of pain. The key is overcoming mental obstacles and the fear of worsening pain and exacerbating one’s condition.
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