Useful Exercises for Managing Pain

Staff WriterLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 6:49:48 PM ET
Woman swimming underwater CC0/survivor/Pixabay

When you suffer from chronic pain, getting active is probably the last thing you feel like doing, but as it turns out, exercise can actually help you manage pain. Regular exercise strengthens muscles, loosens joints, keeps you from gaining too much weight, helps you lose weight and gives you an overall sense of well-being. All of these are important for battling chronic pain and managing your symptoms. Of course, some exercises are better and more useful than others, so you may want to start with these:

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1. Swimming and Water Exercises

Water workouts are perfect for people who suffer from chronic pain because they allow you to move without having to carry the full weight of your body. They also help build strong muscles and provide you with cardio options, both of which are necessary for healthy living and paint management. Best of all, when you workout in the water you have several options. You can swim laps if you like, or you can tray aqua jogging. Basically, it's just walking or jogging while you're in a swimming pool. You can also sign up for water aerobics classes or create your own with videos and guides found online.

2. Stretching

Stretching may not be the first thing you think of when you think of exercise, but it can help manage chronic pain, and it's really good for you. If you don't believe it, just watch your cat or dog when it gets up in the morning. What's the first thing your pet does? Stretch, of course. Stretching relieves muscle stiffness and tension from stress which can help loosen up body parts like your back and neck. People who stretch regularly tend to feel better overall, and they have better mobility than other people their age. One great thing about stretching is that you don't need any equipment, and you can do it from any location and from any position (sitting, standing or lying down).

3. Walking

Many people don't view walking as exercise, but it's actually one of the best things you can do for your health and to manage your chronic pain. Aim for at least half an hour a day, but if you aren't up for that just yet, do what you can and work your way up. Even five minutes a day is better than nothing. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and before you know it, you'll experience less pain and better overall physical and mental health. It's good for your heart and can help improve your mobility as well.

4. Yoga

If you've ever thought about giving yoga a try, there is no time like the present. Studies have shown that the combination of certain yoga moves, along with mindful breathing and meditation can help reduce chronic pain in people with health conditions like fibromyalgia. Some of the best yoga poses for pain include the standing side stretch, supine twist, legs up the wall, warrior II, bridge pose, wall plank and butterfly pose. If you aren't sure how to do these poses, or you've never tried yoga before, you may want to take a class or work with a professional to ensure you're not performing the moves wrong and putting yourself in more pain.

5. Weightlifting

Few things can help with chronic pain and maintaining your mobility than building strong muscles all throughout your body. The stronger you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself and experience more pain. Strong muscles can also help stabilize your joints and prevent pain in areas like the knees, hips and ankles. Focus on building muscle in your upper body (the chest, shoulders and arms), your lower body (hips, thighs, calves and glutes) and your core for maximum relief. You can start with small hand weights, resistance machines at your gym, body weight exercises or whatever you're most comfortable with.