Exercise May Be Key to Fighting Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, pain that lasts or recurs for more than three months, impacts about 20 percent of people about the globe. This wide-spread problem is frequently treated with medication. But for a long-term problem, like persistent pain, you may be interested in a more natural approach. New research from Australia suggests that the best treatment for pain might seem counterintuitive: exercise. Pain may make you want to curl up and not move. The study, which looked specifically at chronic neck pain caused by whiplash, showed that low-intensity exercise helped.

[While] people experiencing pain may not feel like exercising, it could be a practical alternative to medication,” said Dr. Rutger de Zoete from The Univ. of Queensland’s RECOVER Injury Research Centre. “We are investigating the effects of low-intensity physical exercise on chronic pain and the subsequent changes in the structure and function of the brain. You don’t need to lift heavy weights or run long distances every day, but if we can better understand how the brain responds to different types of exercise and how this may reduce physical pain, we can tailor new treatment programs to help those suffering from chronic conditions.

Just walking or a light bike ride or stretching were some of the methods of exercising used in the study. Research shows that people who feel chronic pain may have impaired neuroplasticity — the nervous system’s ability to change with experience and use. Chronic pain can wear on the central nervous system, causing your body to become more sensitive to pain over time. Gentle exercise, that slowly builds your body’s strength and fitness, can help physically and retrain your brain to feel sensation correctly. Light exercise will keep your joints and muscles strong and help you maintain a healthy weight. If you can become healthier overall, it may help ease your pain.

There are so many great forms of exercise that can help you. The Glucocil team really likes yoga because of the gentle way it builds you up over time and how it helps you both physically and mentally. It’s a great way to help raise your pulse without too much exertion. Another option would be water aerobics, letting you move without putting quite so much pressure on your joints. Your exercise should be tailored to your health needs, physical strengths and what you enjoy doing. That’s why it’s important to speak with your doctor before you begin. You should also ease into your new routine. Otherwise, you can injure yourself from performing tasks your body isn’t used to, or you can overexert yourself and exacerbate your pain.

It is of the utmost importance that you listen to your body as you exercise. A little pain may occur when you first start exercising if your body is unused to it. However, if you feel your pain increase more than two points from your baseline pain, stop and adjust what you’re doing. Otherwise, you may harm yourself instead of easing your discomfort over time.
July 31, 2019
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