Remember it takes courage to start exercising, it takes effort and commitment. Be kind and gentle to yourself along the way and choose a daily, ‘good for your health’ exercise that you like.
Research shows us that movement, activity and exercise can be very helpful to reduce pain and improve function for people with musculoskeletal pain
Improving function (e.g. our ability to engage in daily activities such as household tasks, work, study, socializing etc.) through movement, activity and exercise has profound beneficial ‘flow-on’ effects, including reduced disability, reduced depression and improved physical conditioning and increased quality of life
Movement (ie; moving, relaxing, stretching, walking) is important for your health and a big part of pain management.
Start out slow, increase time and distance over the course of the next few weeks.
- helps turn the ‘pain volume’ button down by accessing the body’s own in-built pharmacy
- reassures you that some pain with movement is normal and does not mean you are doing more harm
- keeps you active and capable of doing what you want to do
- helps regulate sleep patterns
- reduces stress
- improves mood (especially depression)
- improves immune function (your body’s ability to fight infection or illness or stress)
- good for your general health (heart, lungs, muscles and joints)
- helps with weight control (important if you have additional chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease)
Tips to help guide your exercise choices
Here’s some important info to help guide your exercise choices:
- ‘Good for your health’ exercise like walking, cycling or possibly swimming can be done by most people and is beneficial for their health and helps to improve pain and function. Walking is easy, free and can be done anywhere, anytime.
- a relaxation and stretching program (tai chi, yoga or simple stretching and breathing) will benefit most people, especially if you experience stiffness, tightness in your movements and pain or experience stress, anxiety or distress. There may be some ‘do’s and do nots’ depending on your condition. Discuss this with your health professional. Try our short mind/body relaxation exercise below or view a video on Tai Chi
- re-conditioning exercises need to be tailored to your specific problem. Depending on your pain condition, you may need to strengthen certain muscles, or be taught different (and more helpful), ways to move. For example, if you have a low back pain problem, you may benefit from re-conditioning of leg and buttock muscles, as these are often not doing the work they should [see Shaun’s story]
- sometimes, the wrong exercise can make your pain worse. If you tend to already stiffen your spine and are fearful of movement, then ‘core strengthening’ exercises can exacerbate your pain. See your physio to get the best exercise program to help treat your problem.
- balance and agility – this is an important part of any exercise program and is often missed. Regardless of your injury, it is important to ask your health professional to assess your balance and advise you of any exercises that can help. This is very important if you have osteoporosis and are at risk of falling, view a video on Tai Chi. Tai Chi can help balance and agility.
- good for your brain: moving, activity and exercise helps maintain a healthy brain as you age
Always Speak with your care professional for guidance and progression
Posted by painhealth