Benefits of Physical Activity For People With Chronic Pain

Gone are the days that doctors would tell patients to get some rest if they are in pain. Now the advice is to stay as active as possible, or if not active it’s time to start an exercise regimen.


According to research people with chronic pain that regularly exercise feel much better than the chronic pain patients that don’t get any physical activity. Exercise is also an important way to avoid becoming a chronic pain patient in the future. That is because as people age they need to continue/start doing physical activity or they will lose their ability to maintain their current level of fitness. Without physical activity people will experience many more aches and pains as they age. If they had stayed active this pain may have been entirely preventable.


Why will chronic pain patients feel better with exercise? Research has proven that in the population in general that people that are physically active have much higher pain tolerances than people with a sedentary lifestyle. People that experience chronic pain have much lower pain tolerances, than the general population. Exercise can help restore the pain tolerance threshold back to a more reasonable level for chronic pain patients. Exercise is also important because not being physically active can make the simple activities of everyday living much more painful and uncomfortable.


Before starting a new exercise regimen chronic pain patients should talk with their doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. Not all exercises are recommended for every condition. A physical or occupational therapist can also give patients a postural assessment to see if any part of their body is out of alignment. If a patient is having a body alignment issue their physical or occupational therapist can help get their body back into alignment before starting a new fitness regimen. If chronic pain patients start a new workout while being out of postural alignment the exercise may end up causing more harm than good.


Here are some easy exercises to start getting some physical activity:


Walking- is an easy and convenient way to get started with physical activity. Most people can leave right out the front door of their home and have a nice walk. If the weather is crummy out simply go to the indoor shopping mall for a quick climate controlled walk. Research has also proven that walking has many great health benefits. These benefits include a longer life, slimmer waistline, improved memory, and helps prevent heart disease.


Tai Chi- is an easy to learn set of movements that gives you more energy if practiced regularly. This exercise has no need for special equipment and it requires very little space to practice. Tai Chi is suitable for any age or physical condition and can be done standing, sitting, or lying down to accommodate a health condition. Because of the easy and low-impact nature of this exercise it is very easy for someone to start their exercise routine with Tai Chi. Benefits of Tai Chi include improving balance, more energy, decreased stress, and it helps to prevent disease.


Swimming- is a great low-impact exercise that incorporates the use of your entire body. The cool water helps you to burn calories without getting sweaty or overheated. If you are suffering from pain or sore muscles a heated pool could help. Swimming is considered a safe form of exercise for many health conditions. For many people such as the overweight or people with arthritis the water will help take pressure off of the joints making it possible to exercise in more comfort. If swimming is your only form of exercise it is recommended that you get in at least 2 ½ hours of swimming per week. Benefits of swimming include better heart health, increased strength and flexibility, weight loss, better control of asthma, and reduced stress levels.


Yoga- is a great full body workout that is also low-impact. There are many different styles of Yoga from gentle and easy to challenging and intense. Yoga can increase strength and flexibility, while giving the participant a total body workout. This exercise is fun and suitable for people of all fitness levels. Some of the benefits of yoga are weight loss, better immunity to illness, more flexibility, reduces stress, and it also helps with aches or pain.

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