I Have Chronic Pain. Can Exercise Help?
Living with chronic pain, regardless of the source and cause, can be debilitating for many people.
They spend their days avoiding anything that triggers the pain, and then taking medications to decrease its severity. Sometimes, it isn’t enough.
If you suffer from chronic pain, regular exercise may be beneficial in decreasing the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Here are 4 ways an exercise habit can help:
Improves Joint Motion
For some patients with chronic pain, especially those suffering from arthritis and fibromyalgia, joint pain is among the most common complaints.
The body’s inflammatory fighting response is triggered by many chronic conditions, causing swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints. While anti-inflammatory medications and other treatments can help decrease the swelling and pain temporarily, movement is one of the best ways to properly flush out the joints and get them moving again.
Low-impact exercises, such as walking, bicycling, and swimming, can help the joints move with more ease and less pain.
Sometimes, pain in areas of the body is the result of overcompensating for muscle weaknesses in other areas.
If the hip or core muscles are weak, for example, the back muscles tense up and pull more of the movement load to compensate. Over time, this causes the back muscles to become inflamed and overused, leading to pain.
Participating in exercises that strengthen the muscles, especially muscles related to any pain you may experience, can help build stronger muscles all over the body and decrease pain.
Activities that are good for strengthening muscles include weightlifting, yoga, and sports.
Improves Mental Health
Living with chronic pain can be as debilitating to the mind and attitude as it is to the body. If you’re constantly suffering from some level of pain, it can greatly impact your outlook on life and your response to even minor stressors.
When you exercise, even light exercise, your body releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins. These endorphins are what gives you that happy feeling after you leave the gym. The more you produce these endorphins, the better you feel.
Additionally, regular exercise can improve your self-esteem and help you gain a sense of belonging, improving your mood and mental health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Even if your pain is not related to being overweight, adding even a few extra pounds to your body can make your pain worse in the long run.
When you exercise – especially when it’s in conjunction with maintaining a healthy diet – you’re able to stave off unwanted weight gain and, in turn, help decrease your pain levels.
And, if you are overweight or your weight makes your pain worse, getting in shape can help you feel better overall and reduce your pain for better health.
Chiropractic Care for Chronic Pain
Exercise, just like chiropractic care, is just one piece of the pain management puzzle for chronic pain sufferers. Routine chiropractic adjustments can help bring your body back into alignment, improve blood flow, and reduce pain and inflammation to get you feeling better faster. Dr. Lipinski works with you to find a treatment plan to help reduce your pain, getting you moving again. Schedule your appointment today!