Great Exercises for People Who Have Chronic Pain
guest post by Jennifer McGregor
Chronic pain is a prevalent problem in the U.S. today. In fact, according to a recent study by the National Institute of Health, about 11.2% of American adults — more than 25 million — reported having pain every day for the previous three months. If you are one of the many who feel that chronic pain has taken over your life, there are exercises that may help improve your mobility and comfort. Try the following exercises (with your doctor’s approval) to see if you have positive results.
Swimming Offers Low Impact Exercise
Swimming can be incredibly effective for individuals suffering from chronic pain. It’s often used in rehab settings due to the buoyant properties of water, which Aqua Balance explains is “the upward thrust acting in the opposite direction of the force of gravity.” When you’re standing on land, your body weight places pressure on your joints.
The buoyant property of water reduces this effect and also aids in movement, making swimming an ideal exercise for chronic pain sufferers.
Additionally, recent studies show that swimming can be extremely beneficial to cancer survivors by gently rebuilding muscles without straining the body’s skeletal structure. It also improves flexibility, thereby reducing the potential for injury.
Yoga is Both Exercise and Stretching
Yoga is one of the best ways to slowly stretch and strengthen your muscles, but you don’t need to sign up for the daily yoga class at your local fitness center. A few simple stretches are easy to learn and can help decrease chronic pain. With endless poses, stretches, and other movements, try developing a simple, customized yoga routine that stretches and strengthens key areas without risking additional injury.
Plus, yoga is an activity that you can do in your home, on your own time, and for free; no costly gym memberships required. If you do have the time, participating in a group or individual yoga session is a great way to perfect your technique and get help from a certified instructor. Once you feel comfortable, yoga can easily become a self-guided workout that busy professionals can fit into their hectic lifestyles.
Dogs are Great Motivators for Daily Walks and Activity
After a long day at work, your couch may look awfully inviting, but a sedentary lifestyle can actually exacerbate chronic pain. Plus, you’re missing opportunities to be more active and strengthen your bones and muscles – which, ultimately, can help to alleviate some pain.
There are a few ways to combat this cycle beyond sheer willpower, such as adopting a dog. That may seem like an odd suggestion, but consider this: dog owners have been shown to live longer, happier lives, due in part to the stress-reducing benefits of pet ownership. Dogs provide constant companionship and unconditional love. They can give you a sense of purpose. Perhaps most importantly, adopting a dog will ensure that you lead a more active lifestyle. It’s tough to resist those puppy-dog eyes eagerly awaiting a walk. This means you’ll be up and about more often to meet your pet’s needs while simultaneously aiding your own health.
An hour devoted to the local pool, a few minutes in the office stretching, or spending some quality time with man’s best friend can all help you manage your chronic pain and improve your quality of life. With the right regimen and mentality, you can even strengthen your mind and spirit along the way.
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.