Chronic pain can be debilitating and disheartening. A recent market research report states that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide(1) suffer from chronic pain. There are many ways to treat chronic pain but how do you know which path is best for you? Exercising is a cheap and effective way to help manage chronic pain. It has been proven that exercising at least a few times a week can help decrease pain and improve function, mobility, and mood. Here at Spinal Interventions, we encourage our patients to take part in active rehabilitation programs including diet and daily exercise. Before starting any exercise programs, make sure to consult your physician about what the best plan is for you.
Here are 5 exercises you can do at home or your local gym that can help manage your chronic pain.
Strengthen Your Core
A strong core can help improve your posture and stability. Your core consists of the abdomen, pelvis, hip, buttocks, and lower back. Every day activities such as bending over to put your shoes on or sitting in a chair depend on your core. Examples of ways to strengthen your core while being careful with your back include planks, using an exercise ball, and Pilates classes. If you are unsure of what exercises are best, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist to help design a program for you and make sure you are doing the exercises correctly.
Stretching can help relieve tension, increase blood flow, and improve mobility. Stretching every day can help improve your flexibility but it is especially important before and after exercising. When stretching, only go as far as you can comfortably. Don’t force your body to go further or you could cause additional injury. Try attending a yoga class and practice deep breathing.
Lifting weights can help improve your core strength as well as the muscles throughout your body. Be sure to start small and work your way up. Most exercises designed to gain body mass often increase the chances of making your back pain or injury worse. Weights you once lifted with ease might have to be worked back up to. Consult a trainer or physical therapist to figure out what the best starting weight for you would be.
Walking increases circulation while exercising your entire body. Walking can decrease risk of heart disease and stroke while also improving conditions of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain, and diabetes. Walking is low impact and requires minimal equipment. It can be done at any time of the day and can be performed at your own pace(2). You can even start by walking five minutes a day and increasing the time slowly. Plan walks that fit your age and fitness level(3). Invest in a good pair of supportive shoes. Maintain good posture while you’re walking. Also remember to wear sunglasses, sunscreen, or a hat to protect your skin while walking outside. Walk your dog or with a friend to make walking a more enjoyable experience while also improving your health.
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that engages most of the muscles in your body. Start by swimming at a low and consistent pace to increase strength and mobility. You can also try water jogging or water aerobics. The water allows you to have greater range of motion while relieving tension in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. A study found that only 7% of injuries came from swimming. Swimming is a non-weight-bearing and low-impact way to get an aerobic workout, which means that the chance of injury remains relatively low, even at competitive levels(4).
Physical activity promotes circulation to relieve painful inflammation in joints and muscles. Plus, studies have shown that physical activity releases brain chemicals(5) called endorphins that help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve your overall mood.
Don’t let chronic pain interfere with your life! If you’re dealing with chronic pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Don’t let pain keep you from doing the things you love. Take the first step to living pain free and call Spinal Interventions today at (801) 223-4860 for a consultation.
1: Global Pain Management Market to Reach US$60 Billion by 2015, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., Global Industry Analysts, Inc. prweb.com/pdfdownload/8052240.pdf
2: Walking for Good Health, Better Health Channel, betterhealth.vic.gov.au/…/walking-for-good-health
3: Techniques for Effective Exercise Walking, Ted Forcum & Thomas E. Hyde, Spine-Health, spine-health.com/…/techniques-effective-exercise-walking
4: Statistics on Swimming Over Other Forms of Exercise, Michael Shiva Best, Sports Rec, livestrong.com/…/531287-statistics-on-swimming-over-other-forms-of-exercise
5: Exercise and Depression: Endorphins, Reducing Stress, and More, WebMD, webmd.com/…sion/guide/exercise-depression