Exercise for people with chronic pain.

Smithsonian Yoga ManuscriptExercise if good for you!  Well yes we all know that but how do you take exercise when you suffer from chronic pain?  This blog will give you a few tips and pointers on  how to get fitter and not increase your pain at the same time.

Exercise promotes general good health as well as weight loss which are important for people suffering from chronic medical conditions.

The key principle to keep in mind is that you want your activity to be “low impact”. This means that it will not harm your joints.  This is vitally important for people with arthritis, fibromyalgia and osteoporosis.  It also means that you are less likely to suffer from an ankle sprain or cartilage tear.

So what are some good types of low impact exercise which can be easily carried out by people who suffer from chronic or acute pain?  Well here are a few:-

a)      Walking.  Pretty obvious and easy.  All you need to do ii to step out of your front door.  Oh yes and you don’t have to spend all that money of gym fees.  Doctors often recommend a 20 minute walking session 5-6 times a week.

b)      Yoga.  This ancient Indian system of exercise is great for core strength and helps improve balance. It is often used by people with multiple sclerosis. We recently discussed this in a blog which you can read here  http://patienttalk.org/?p=571

c)       Cycling.  Becoming more popular each year cycling is a great way to get fit and to do a bit of two wheeled sightseeing.  You might think about cycling to work. A helmet is very much recommended especially if you live in London!  See http://patienttalk.org/?p=109 for more information.

d)      Pilates.  Developed in the early years of the last century Pilates is great for back pain as it helps strengthen the spine as well as improve  muscle strength.

e)      Swimming.  This low impact sport is great for both people with mobility issues and for those who suffer from obesity. You might also want to consider water aerobics.

f)       Gardening.  A bit of relaxed gardening is great way of dealing with stress and taking exercise at the same time.

 

It is worth mentioning that you should speak with a healthcare professional before embarking on any type of exercise regime.

Finally – what have we missed out?  Please do use the comments box below to share with your fellow readers the kinds of exercise which have worked for you. Any links would be great as well.

Thanks in advance!

6 comments
bataone
bataone

I've had chronic pain for 13 years. I have damaged nerves that have my whle right side with middle back down to rt. Hip, that taks over my whole rt. Leg. Sciatica nerve, it's terrible, but swimming slow or walking in a pool helps . Walking hurts me, if I don't have to walk a lot , I don't. The water is the only relief I get and it builds muscles that I can use to move easier. I'm always over doing it all the time. It has taken me up to 3 months to calm this nerve down to where I could tolerate it, so No more over doing it. Lol I love hot weather, my pain is tolerable, so I want to have a veggie garden.( I get help) plant all the veggies I like, and usually have a good crop, as long as I don't have a rabbit. (I plantlots of green beans)Gardens bring me joy. Even though I have a lot of pain, I don't let it stop me from some things I love .matter of fact, I've learned more about me since I had the accident.

GaelicWench
GaelicWench

I will do Tai Chi-Qi Gong before I do Yoga. I tried the latter and hated it.

GloriaVasta
GloriaVasta

Deep water jogging, in warm water -   I have RA and have had Cervical Spine Surgery- plate/pins.   This is the least stressful exercise on my joints and spine.  I'm able to move at a comfortable pace- also good for upper body if lower body is immobile.  You use a belt to help buoyancy. It keeps you about nipple-ish level in the water. You're in deep water, so no stress on joints.   Look it up see what Neuro-surgeons say about this exercise.  It's therapeutic, used for many conditions.  

GillRoxburghWasParry
GillRoxburghWasParry

I've done the beds as below for years but for the past 6 months because of the worsening of my pain,which is yet to be controlled to make me remotely comfortable and the fact that I have PPMS which often has me bed bound there is no exercise to tone,trim me or keep my muscle tone

MarionHounsome1
MarionHounsome1

Walking, yoga and cycling are all very fine......not!!   If one is wheelchair-bound, can't walk!  If one has balance issues, cycling is not very wise!  I tried yoga at the very onset of my MS, and couldn't deal with all the positions at all!!   The most useful thing I have found is Powertone......a series of six electric beds, which each exercise a different part of your body.  I, personally, have not found it to be helping me to lose any weight, but it has been very useful for my posture and muscle strength in general.  I've been having more of a problem with it lately, as I have "moderately severe arthritis of the lower spine",  which makes it very painful and difficult to lie flat on my back, which one of the machines requires to do.  But I have been doing this for about seven years now, and I certainly feel it's a good exercise regime!!

Pam Breithaupt
Pam Breithaupt

@MarionHounsome1 Hi Marion.  It is clear that you were in the wrong yoga class.  I teach yoga to people with all kinds of physical issues.  I mainly teach privately and can do so via Skype.  I taught a yoga for MS class in chairs for many years.  I had people who could walk unassisted, some with walkers and some in wheelchairs.  Real yoga is about meeting the student where they are physically, mentally and emotionally.  Nothing should ever hurt I never have anyone push through pain or even past the point of restriction.  I know this is difficult for people to get on board with as we are taught "no pain no gain" and that we have to really work hard to make a difference.  The most affect with yoga comes through subtlety.  If you can breathe, you can do yoga.  I promise.  I would love to help you.

Pam  pbreithaupt@mac.com