Why and How Exercise Helps Chronic Pain
When you suffer from chronic pain, every morning is a gamble. Some days, you feel great. Other days, it’s tough to get out of bed, let alone tackle the day ahead. But on those good days, a little exercise may help you feel even better. And when you make a habit of it, you may find yourself having more good days than bad days. Exercise helps chronic pain in many ways, and you don’t have to do anything complicated or overly strenuous to enjoy these benefits. Plus, many natural remedies can also help with pain while you’re increasing your exercise. Keep reading to discover how exercise helps chronic pain!
Why and How Exercise Helps Chronic Pain
When you’re dealing with chronic pain, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. But research has shown that staying active is an integral part of the treatment process. Unfortunately, inactivity can make it harder to do things you love, and in many cases, can make the pain even worse.
Staying active, on the other hand, can actually improve physical function and pain.
But how does exercise help chronic pain?
Keeps Muscles Strong
Many of us lead primarily sedentary lives, and when you have chronic pain, you may be even more sedentary. But if you’re not exercising regularly and moving your body, you may experience muscle deconditioning (or muscle weakness).
That old saying “move it or lose it” is very true here. If you’re not using your muscles, your body will replace some of those muscle fibers with fat.
Regular exercise will help keep your muscles strong and make it easier to get through the day. When you have chronic pain, doing simple chores around the house can be difficult and exhausting. But if you’re staying active and keeping your muscles fit and strong, it may be easier to tackle these chores and with less pain.
Sitting or lying in one position for too long can make you stiff and uncomfortable. Chronic pain itself can cause stiffness, so inactivity can make the problem even worse.
Staying active and exercising regularly can help combat stiffness and make moving easier.
Lifts Your Mood and Helps Reduce Stress
Exercising regularly can help lift your mood and reduce stress levels. Unfortunately, many people with chronic pain also suffer from depression and high-stress levels because the pain makes it challenging to lead a normal life.
But exercise has been shown to improve mood and kick stress to the curb.
- It increases the production of those feel-good chemicals (a.k.a. endorphins).
- It can help you stay focused and in the present moment.
- It can help reduce tension and improve sleep.
Improves Overall Health and Well-Being
Exercise plays an essential role in your overall health and well-being. After all, our bodies were designed to move.
Exercising regularly can help:
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost immune function
- Improve digestion
If you’re dealing with chronic pain, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run five miles a day to stay active. A simple walk around the neighborhood can help you take an essential step in improving your health.
3 Exercises for Chronic Pain
Virtually any exercise can help with chronic pain, but the goal is to make sure that you’re exercising safely and not overdoing it. In addition, some forms of exercise are easier on the joints than others.
Here are three exercises for chronic pain.
Note: Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Going for a walk is a great way to get your blood flowing and your body moving without overdoing it. Walking is low-impact and helps boost circulation, which can help combat stiffness and pain.
Like walking, swimming is a low-impact exercise. While it’s gentle on the joints, swimming or water aerobics can give you a great cardiovascular workout.
Hatha yoga is gentle on the body, but it helps improve flexibility, circulation, and even muscle strength. Stretching will help ease tension, but the relaxation-promoting aspects of yoga can help fight stress and calm the mind.
Natural Remedies to Ease Pain When Exercising More
If you want to make exercise a priority, it may be helpful to use natural remedies to help combat pain to feel well enough to complete your workout.
Here are some natural remedies for pain.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has anti-inflammatory properties that may help with pain, even when applied topically. Pain-relieving creams with CBD can provide targeted, localized relief.
Like CBD, DMSO has anti-inflammatory effects and can help alleviate pain. Studies have found that topical DMSO can help with pain caused by knee joint damage and people suffering from CRPS.
DMSO gels and creams are easy to apply and provide targeted pain relief.
Essential oils may also provide natural pain relief when diffused or applied with a carrier oil. In addition, creams and massage oils can also contain pain-relieving essential oils.
Essential oils that may be effective for pain include:
- Most citrus essential oils (grapefruit, lemon, orange, lime, etc.)
Turmeric and Ginger
When it comes to natural pain relief, there are two herbs (or rather, spices) that stand out: ginger and turmeric. Both have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with the pain.
Ginger also contains something called salicylates, which your body transforms into salicylic acid. Salicylic acid hinders the production of prostaglandins, which can help ease pain and discomfort.
The curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Research has found that both of these spices are almost as effective as over-the-counter medications at easing pain.
Living with chronic pain isn’t easy. Exercise may not vanquish your pain, but it can help your body stay healthy and may reduce the intensity of your pain. Combined with the natural remedies above, you may find it easier to get through your daily routine and do more of the things you love.
If you want the perfect combination of these natural remedies and don't want to go through the processes of mixing and matching, grab yourself a jar of Pain Warrior+ Cream!
Made with full-spectrum CBD, DMSO, peppermint, lavender, and more this easy-to-use cream provides targeted relief in 5 minutes or less!
So you can quickly apply this cream where you need it most, and start your exercises without pushing your pain to its limit.
Which means you can stop letting pain put limitations on you, and start living your life your way!