Chronic pain is pain that persists beyond injury healing time. This persistent pain is less about the damage to your body and more about the sensitivity of your nervous system.
Research has shown that exercise helps to manage persistent pain. Exercise can reverse the negative cycle of muscle wastage and more pain. Individuals with persistent pain can learn to enjoy physical activities again and this helps them to manage their pain better physiologically.
To change your mind-set about your pain, you need to understand several things:
- Exercise is medicine and daily exercise will assist you to manage your pain better
- Use your stretches to cool down and do short steady amounts of exercise
- Start slowly and don’t expect too much from yourself
- Monitor your pain with a rating system from 0 to 10 with 10 being the strongest amounts of pain possible
- Score your pain when doing your exercise and don’t push yourself into the stronger pain range
- If your pain increases by more than 2 points during an exercise, stop doing the exercise
Different exercises can be undertaken to manage your pain. These exercises include:
- Stretching exercises – Stretch at least once per day to keep your body supple and used to movement
- Strengthening exercises – For building strong muscles which includes squats, wall push ups and bicep curls
- Cardiovascular exercises – Walking, swimming and riding are light aerobic exercises which is less likely to impact on your joints
Most of all, keep it fun!