Too much of the wrong activity can make pain worse. If running or jogging are out of the question, you may be able to manage and enjoy cycling, which is easier on painful knees and hips. Aquatic therapy, including aerobics performed in warm water, help to alleviate inflammation; the buoyancy of the water protects the body from the stress of gravity and from jerky or jarring movements that might otherwise cause pain. No matter which type of exercise you choose, use caution not to move too quickly, stretch or twist too far, or do so much that you pain becomes worse.
As you become more comfortable, you may decide to enroll in an exercise class or pursue personal training; inform you instructor or fitness professional of your condition, so he can demonstrate how to move safely and get the most out of your workout.
Exercise improves a person’s sleep patterns. Sleep problems often plague individuals who have chronic pain. Worry, depression, or the pain itself diminishes the quantity and quality of your sleep. Some medications also encourage insomnia. Sleeping aids can help, but practicing relaxation and behavioral therapy techniques can help you get more normal sleep without side effects. When restorative sleep patterns improve, pain symptoms usually do too.3 Physically active individuals sleep longer and more deeply that those who are sedentary. Exercise also helps to alleviate sleep apnea, a common disruptive sleep disorder that abruptly stops the breath.
7 Tips for Exercising When You Have Chronic Pain
- Talk to you doctor before you begin an exercise program.
- Start slowly and gradually increase your efforts as you gain strength, flexibility, and confidence.
- Move at your own pace. Never try to keep up with a class or a group if doing so is painful.
- Exercise every day, if possible.
- Strive for a balanced routine of cardiovascular, strengthening, and stretching exercise.
- Accept that you will be able to do more on some days than others.
- Be patient with your progress. Overexertion makes pain worse and can strain muscles.