Safe Exercises for Reducing Chronic Pain
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “chronic pain is pain that is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months…Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. Some people [experience] chronic pain even when there is no past injury or apparent body damage.”
This is more common than you may realize, as the International Association for the Study of Pain reports that chronic pain affects an estimated 20% of people worldwide and accounts for 15% to 20% of physician visits.
Depending on its severity, chronic pain can limit your ability to participate in the activities you enjoy and even impact your level of independence. For several years, rest was the recommended remedy for relieving chronic pain; however, recent research shows that certain exercises can be effective in reducing chronic pain symptoms.
Uplands Village understands the impact physical activity can have on maintaining independence, enabling individuals to lead healthy, purposeful lives. Because chronic pain is a condition that affects so many individuals, we are sharing the types of exercises that are safe and effective for reducing chronic pain.
The American College of Sports Medicine defines aerobic exercise as “any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature.” Meaning “with oxygen,” adding aerobic exercises to your fitness routine is a great way to boost your heart rate, improve blood circulation, and help your body use oxygen better. Consequently, your muscles will become less stiff, reducing chronic pain.
It is important to note that not all aerobic activities are safe exercises for reducing chronic pain. For example, consider the difference between running and walking. Both are effective ways to increase your heart rate and stay active. However, running can put a lot of pressure and impact on your joints, whereas walking presents a safer alternative that is easier on your joints.
Even easier on your joints than walking, swimming or exercising in the water is another aerobic activity option that can help relieve chronic pain.
Exercising in water feels different, and one of the reasons for this is the buoyancy that water provides. This buoyancy can help support your body weight, reducing the force of stress placed on your weight-bearing joints by more than 50%. As a result, performing exercises should be easier and less painful.
Uplands Village features an on-site aquatic center, enabling residents to participate in therapies and practice safe exercises for reducing chronic pain conveniently on campus.
Our Aquatic Therapy Center features a large, 20’ x 60’ lap pool for swimmers, as well as a warmer and shallower water therapy pool that is wheelchair-accessible for aquatic exercise classes and rehabilitative therapies.
In addition, our Aquatic Therapy Center has an 8-person hot tub and several dressing rooms, including one designated for couples or caregivers to help those who may need additional assistance.
Another type of exercise that is safe and effective for reducing chronic pain is stretching. Even though stretching may seem like what you’re supposed to do before OR after exercising, it’s a good way to keep your body moving and can go a long way in managing chronic pain.
Stretching exercises and programs, such as yoga and tai chi, help relieve muscle tension and stiffness, keep your joints flexible, help you maintain your range of motion, and even improve your mobility.
Strong muscles can help to stabilize your joints, preventing future injuries. Because of this, strength training exercises are also effective for reducing chronic pain. Healthline states, “for people living with chronic pain, adequate core strength is especially important. It helps you maintain proper posture and balance and reduces the risk of injuries that could lead to more pain.”
The rehabilitation services offered at Uplands Village help individuals recover from an injury or surgery. Through these services, individuals regain their strength, recover confidence, and find safe ways to get back to doing what they love.
For more information on our community or how our services can help you reduce chronic pain, visit our website or contact the Uplands Village team.