According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain affects approximately 100 million U.S. adults and costs $560 to $635 billion per year in direct medical treatment costs and lost productivity. Talk about a painful pill to swallow.
Exercise is a common treatment for chronic pain. Depending on your current state of health, it may help decrease inflammation, increase mobility, and decrease overall pain levels, no additional medication required.
Try a combination of the cardio, relaxation, stretching, and strength exercises below and you may feel some of your pain ease away over time.
Cardiovascular exercise has several physical and mental benefits and can be particularly helpful for people with chronic pain. Cardio can be done any time of day and often requires little or no equipment. Try these two exercises.
Walking 30 minutes 3 to 5 times per week can help increase strength, endurance, and heart health. If walking is challenging for you, start slow and work your way up to longer walks as you get stronger. If you use a walker or a cane, make sure to take it with you.
This is an excellent alternative to walking for people with mobility issues. This low-impact cardiovascular exercise can help keep you moving without putting added stress on your joints and muscles. Swimming can often be therapeutic, and it’s a great way to clear your mind.
Relaxation exercises are important for many people who live with chronic pain. Visualization requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
If you have chronic pain in your low back or neck, stretching can relieve tension and stiffness. Try these equipment-free stretches for the back and neck to improve overall mobility and facilitate proper movement.
Building strength is important for stabilizing the joints and preventing future injuries.
For people living with chronic pain, adequate core strength is especially important. It helps you maintain proper posture and balance and reduces the risk of injuries that could lead to more pain.
Working the muscles of the abdomen, hips, and back can help improve core strength and stability. Try the exercises below.
Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Specific exercises may vary depending on the origin of your chronic pain. It’s always best to consult a physical therapist for a personalized exercise routine. Certain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, may lead to increased pain with exercise, so start slow and monitor your symptoms.
Inactivity leads to stiff muscles, decreased mobility, and decreased strength. These effects can worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Engaging in a regular exercise routine can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health.
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