Chronic Pain Relief: Exercising and Chronic Pain

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Should a person with chronic pain start an exercise program?

Chronic Pain Relief: Exercising and Chronic Pain

Inactivity lends to weakening of muscles, including the heart. Inactivity also leads to a higher risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Exercising can help ward off those problems, in addition to fatigue, stress and anxiety—but when suffering from chronic pain, exercise is the last thing on anyone's mind.

According to Edward Laskowski, M.D., of the Sports Medicine Center at the Mayo Clinic, lack of exercise may contribute to chronic pain. When planning an exercise program to help deal with chronic pain, start out slowly. Start out with some simple stretching and a few minutes of endurance and strength training exercises. Increase the length of each exercise over time. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers made by the body. It also builds strength and flexibility of muscles, which is an important part of controlling pain from arthritis.

Prior to getting started, consult your doctor or a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help design a safe exercise program to fit your needs. The physical therapist can show you certain exercises to help with joint pain and other chronic pain. Other exercises such as meditation and yoga can also help a person relax and dissipate stress. Even when starting slowly, exercise can make a difference in as little as three weeks.



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