Exercising With Chronic Pain

Exercising With Chronic Pain

September 28, 2019


Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that something might be wrong. However, it does not necessarily mean that you should steer away from exercise. It still depends on the pain you have. There are two types of pain: acute and chronic pain.

Causes of Acute Pain

exercising with acute pain

Acute pain starts suddenly, and only lasts for a short time. There are many causes of acute pain. With exercise, acute pain can sometimes be caused by overdoing it, like for instance, lifting heavy weights or speeding up on a treadmill at a rate that is not at your fitness level. The best way to avoid acute pain caused by exercise is to set realistic goals and pace yourself. Start slowly with low intensity exercises and gradually work up from there. Acute pain may also be caused by an injury such as a strain, sprain, or break from a fall. Balance exercises are just some of the ways you can do to prevent falls that lead to these injuries. 

Exercising With Acute Pain

If you feel a sharp pain in your muscles or joints, stop exercising immediately and see your doctor about it. Only a professional should be able to say which type of exercise is safe while experiencing acute pain. It can be stretching or strength training exercises, something that you can perform with a trainer to help with recovery. The doctor will also advise you to do warm up exercises to get your body ready for any activity and reduce the risk of injury.

Causes of Chronic Pain

exercising with chronic pain

Chronic pain, unlike acute pain, is ongoing and is often a symptom of larger problems like arthritis, diabetes, shingles, and even cancer. Most people who live with chronic pain can actually perform exercises safely, and in fact, it can actually help manage pain. For people with chronic pain, being inactive can sometimes lead to a cycle of more pain or even loss of function. 

Exercising With Chronic Pain

See your doctor about what exercises or activities might be beneficial for your pain management. Remember, each type of exercise has its own benefits, so a combination may be best.

For older adults, strength exercises can help improve muscle strength. Weight-bearing exercises that involves the use of resistance bands or weighted wristbands are good. Endurance exercises such as swimming and bicycling can improve heart health and reduce swelling in some joints. For adults who want to improve flexibility without straining their muscles, yoga and tai chi are recommended. 

Remember to listen to your body whenever you are exercising or doing other physical activities. Watch out for pain and swelling or inflammation in a specific joint area as well. If something does not feel right, seek medical advice ASAP.

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