Saturday, May 5, 2012
Does every day seem like a struggle to you? Do you ache all over? Do you feel like you have worked a 12 hour day and it is only 8:00 in the morning? Has pain taken over your life? Many people suffer with chronic pain and it can take over your life physically and emotionally. One thing that has been proven to help people deal with chronic pain is EXERCISE. I know some of you are thinking, “How can I even think about exercising when it is hard enough just to get out of bed and get dressed in the morning?”! The idea of exercising when your body aches may seem impossible but please keep reading and I hope you will realize it is not impossible and may just be what is needed to break that vicious cycle many of you are in.
We all find ourselves in a slump sometimes. Some time ago I realized that was exactly where I was…in a slump! I was 20 pounds heavier, tired all the time, little problems became big problems in my mind and my body ached all over. While this is nothing in comparison to what many of my patients and many of you face on a daily basis it was something that was affecting my quality of life and I made the conscience decision to do what I was capable of doing to improve my quality of life. We hear it everyday….EAT HEALTHIER AND EXERCISE! As a physical therapist I talk about the benefits of exercise and recommend various exercises on a daily basis. What I was not doing was practicing what I was preaching! Once I started making a conscience effort to improve my diet and make exercise a part of my daily (or at least every other day) routine, I started noticing changes immediately. I started to feel better, have more energy, have more patience and less pain. I have experienced first hand the changes that exercise can make and I hope you will consider the benefits of exercise in your life.
Getting motivated to exercise isn’t easy….even when you feel fine, but even a little exercise can help to decrease pain and improve your health. The less activity you do, the less your body becomes capable of doing. Eventually, simple tasks can become tiring and painful. You hurt so you don’t move and a vicious cycle is formed. Adding gentle exercise to your daily routine can help to break this cycle. Too much activity can make symptoms worse in some cases BUT so can inactivity. Water exercise can be a great option for someone suffering from a chronic pain syndrome. The water supports the body and relieves pressure on the joints. Movement is easier in the water and many people have discovered that they can exercise pain free in the water. Another great option for many people is yoga. Gentle yoga increases strength and flexibility as well as introduces you to deep breathing and meditation which can be very beneficial in controlling pain.
If you have not been physically active, I would suggest you consult your healthcare provider or a physical therapist before you begin to help you decide what kind of exercise is most appropriate for you. Chronic pain can make every day seem like an uphill battle. Exercise can help to change the way you cope with pain mentally and emotionally. I know it is not easy but it is so worth it!