Moving more with joint or persistent pain

Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you have chronic pain because it seems to add to your pain. But if you don't exercise, your body gets out of shape—muscles lose their conditioning, for example—and your pain actually increases because your body isn't functioning as well as it could.

Exercising will:

  • Keep your joints moving well - That's especially important for patients with chronic pain
  • Help to keep your muscles strong - Strong muscles support your body and bones better, and that's especially important for patients with chronic pain. Your spine needs all the help it can get in cushioning your movements and supporting your weight, so you should work on keeping your back and core muscles in good condition.
  • Staying active is good for your mental health - Chronic pain patients can struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues because it's difficult to live their life as you once did. Staying active can help boost self-esteem and make you feel like you're doing something to fight your pain and its effect on your life. Exercising with friends or joining a gym is a good way to both motivate yourself and reap the social benefits of exercise.
  • Help you maintain a healthy weight, lose weight and avoid obesity - Extra weight can add to your pain, particularly if you have chronic pain. By making healthy nutritional choices and staying physically fit, you can maintain an appropriate weight.

In order to help plan the next steps think about the following:

  • How would you like things to be different?
  • What have you tried before to make yourself feel better and in less pain?
  • What were the good things about what you tried previously and what are the less good things about it?
  • What will you do next?

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