Nobody likes to work out when their body hurts. For some sufferers of chronic pain, prescription medications don’t work so well or cause unpleasant side effects. What many people may not realize is that exercise workouts and other forms of personal exercise can sometimes be a better pain reliever than medication. It may seem contradictory; however, research has shown that people who participate in regular exercise programs are more successful at reducing chronic pain and have less overall discomfort than those who rely on prescription medication.
Should You Work Out When You’re Painful?
Chronic pain tends to make people want to avoid moving around, believing that reduced motion would mean reduced discomfort. Surprisingly, numerous studies on the topic reveal that those who push through the initial discomfort of working out are less likely to experience greater pain relief than those who opt to sit out on exercise programs. Avoiding motion and working out actually permits chronic conditions to increase. Those who assume they are protecting themselves by skipping the workout are actually causing themselves more harm.
How Exercise Alleviates Chronic Pain
Getting in regular workouts is a major factor in reducing discomfort for a number of important reasons. Personal exercise increases flexibility and fitness levels, provides better support for sore joints, muscles, and nerves, and increases a person’s pain threshold. With a higher threshold, chronic sufferers can experience less discomfort and greater freedom of movement. Regular motion also improves blood flow to affected areas, promoting healing with better circulation.
Another important way that exercising helps chronic pain is through the release of endorphins, often called the body’s natural painkillers. They are produced during workouts and reduce discomfort levels; this in turn leaves many people less painful afterward than they were when they started exercising.
Working Out to Relieve Chronic Pain
Since every person is different and everyone’s discomfort is caused by various things, it is important to discuss exercising with a doctor to make sure it is recommended. Most cases of chronic, ongoing pain does respond to controlled, low impact exercise programs and other activities like yoga and stretching. Whether a person has chronic back soreness, joint pain, or some type of nerve pain, the right type of personal exercise can be instrumental in reducing discomfort and helping the body heal.
It is important that anyone experiencing chronic pain choose the right activities, then build up their strength and flexibility slowly to benefit from workouts. Slow, gradual progression provides the most relief for people without the risk of injury or increased discomfort levels.
The next time those aches and pains rear their ugly heads, rather than avoiding workouts, those with chronic conditions should get moving instead. There are many exercise programs that can help sufferers of chronic pain deal with their discomfort in a more productive way, even without the use of prescription medications. Regular personal exercise is one of the best ways to reduce chronic pain and end up with a healthier, more resilient body!