If you have experienced persistent pain at any point in your life then without a doubt you will have explored different options that could help alleviate the pain. Doctors may have suggested pain medication or using therapies to help cope with low mood/anxiety surrounding your pain. Depending on the known or unknown nature of persistent pain, medication is often prescribed to reduce/eliminate pain. Masking pain with medication can help get you by but can often result in not dealing with the root cause.
Here, Our Health Hub discusses the benefits of exercise for persistent pain management:
We’ve all heard that exercise is good for you. It helps keep your heart and lungs healthy and can help release endorphins and boost your mood. What is often left unsaid is that exercise or any kind of activity is most beneficial when it is meaningful to you. Swimming is a great way to strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular fitness without putting full body weight through a painful region, but this means nothing if you don’t have access to a pool or if you can’t swim. Simple exercises that target where you experience pain don’t have to take up half your day or require you to have a fully kitted out gym in your living room.
Firstly, think of something you would like to do. This could be walking 5km a day, taking up badminton or returning to an activity that pain has stopped you from taking part in. Remember this should be meaningful to you. If you like it you are more likely to enjoy and stick with it whether you’re by yourself or with friends. Secondly, set yourself achievable goals. These can range from short term goals like walking for 20 minutes a day or longer-term goals like completing a workout routine without pain. Lastly, celebrate the small wins. Improvements in pain are made when we learn and try new things.
If you are suffering from persistent pain then building a habit of doing small things regularly like stretching, mental exercises, diet change or changing sleep habits can set you on a path to recovery. OHH specialises in coached programmes built around 15 mins daily activity to start you on the road to recovery and away from a life dependent on medication?
Our Health Hub offers both a Gentle Stretching Course and a Pain Management Programme.
The Gentle Stretching Course offers a carefully curated exercise video library alongside flexible Physiotherapy support to provide tailored exercise plans; promoting flexibility and strength to manage and reduce pain. Being strong doesn’t have to be reserved for powerlifters. Strengthening our muscles improves how joints move, allowing us to move better and reduces the incidence of pain and injury. Similarly, flexibility isn’t exclusive to contortionists. Improving flexibility can help relieve a tight and painful back or help improve how your shoulder moves for your tennis serve. The course focuses on building up and combining simple stretching and strengthening exercises to manage persistent pain. The Pain Management Programme looks into how we think about pain as well as how diet, exercise and medication all feed into understanding and experiencing pain.
Be kind to yourself.
There will always be days where it just feels like too much and it’s okay to take a step back and take a break. Incorporating exercise into your life to better manage pain is a step-by-step approach, constantly evolving by learning what works for each individual. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but it’s one step closer to finding your best way forward.