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Exercise: How to Help Manage The Pain

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by Dr. Michael Kaye

Exercise: How to Help Manage The Pain

Over the last two months I covered exercise and time, and exercise and money. This month I will discuss exercise in relation to pain.

I often hear the following from patients: “Every time I exercise, I get hurt;” or “I hurt too much to even start an exercise program.”

If you are in chronic pain I ask you to change your thinking pattern regarding exercise and think of exercise as a movement program. When you are in chronic pain, management of this pain is about movement versus the thought process of, “No pain, no gain”.

Choosing not to exercise will worsen your condition. And if you choose the wrong types of exercise you could experience a flare-up.

So where does one start? If your health insurance has benefits to cover aquatic therapy or if you have the financial capabilities to join a health club that has a pool, exercising in the aquatic therapy environment is a great beginning. 
If aquatics are not available, begin a program of movements while seated slowly progressing to standing movements. It’s important for the chronic pain patient to feel secure and stable when performing any type of movements in a standing position.

Research your local area for a beginner’s yoga program. Many hospitals are now offering yoga.  Speak with the instructor before you begin the program so he/she can keep an extra eye on you. Start slow and keep in mind that you don’t have to stay for the whole class. Just move a little bit at a time. It’s not a competition. You have to do what’s right for you.

Listen to your body. When you suffer with pain, working through the pain isn’t your best choice. Obviously, you are going to experience some pain; however, there is a difference between tightness and mild pain versus sharp lancination pain.

With any exercise program I recommend the rule of “three to five keeps you alive.” This rule has worked especially well for my chronic pain patients. The goal is to perform a specific movement pattern 3-5 times per day, performing 3-5 sets of that movement pattern and if you are performing repetitions, to perform 3-5 repetitions.

When you are exercising, think in the moment how your body is moving, reacting (increased pain), and responding (less pain). Move in the range of motion that does not cause pain at the time that you are performing the movement pattern. Today could be different than yesterday. The afternoon can be different than the morning or the end of the day.

Start slow and steady. Listen to your body and before you realize it, you will find a battery of movement patterns you can use for management of your pain.

To a Healthy Mind & Body,

Dr. Michael Kaye

Tags: boomers life changes health wellness exercise pain management

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