How Can I Exercise with Pain?

For most people in pain, regular physical exercise is the most important strategy for pain relief and improved functioning. Unfortunately, it can be the hardest. Most people in pain have learned that exercise hurts, either from a course of physical therapy, attempts to exercise on their own, or spurts of increased physical activity during the day. It is common for people in pain to believe that they cannot exercise because of their pain. And they are wrong. Click here to purchase from NHS Heroes

Virtually everyone with chronic pain can and should exercise, but they need to follow a very different strategy than they would if they had no pain or an acute, short term injury. It is still necessary to exercise through aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching. However, you need to emphasize exercising your healthy or less painful body parts. You will engage in aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching using your least painful body parts. You will employ mainly stretching of your painful body parts and only after months consider adding strength training of your injured parts.

The key is to not exercise at any point in a manner that increases your pain by 1 of 10 or 10 of 100. You will need to experiment with different types, intensity, and duration to determine the best exercise for you that does not increase your pain. We divide global-type exercises for people in pain into four categories from easiest to hardest:

  • Non-weight bearing – Non-impact (swimming)
  • Weight bearing – Non-impact (stationary bicycle)
  • Non-weight bearing – Impact (underwater boxing)
  • Weight bearing – Impact (walking, jogging)

Your task is to select exercises of a type, intensity, and duration that do not increase your pain. Begin aerobic exercising daily at 50% of your selected amount. For instance, if you can walk 20 minutes on average before your pain increases, walk for 10 minutes every day (twice a day if possible) and increase by 10 percent a week. After you have done this for a month, add some very light strength training 3-7 times per week. It is okay to exercise in this manner more than once per day. Never increase your exercise by more than 10% in a week.

It doesn’t matter how little you are doing or where you start in your exercise program. It only matters that you start. For a comprehensive 10-page description of this strategy for pain relief and improved function through exercise, we offer a full report which you can purchase and download immediately.