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Top 9 Exercises for People in Pain

FibroIf you’re in pain, there’s a temptation to skip exercising.

But exercise can often help reduce pain and improve your quality of life.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon to get back to the business of life.

Everybody can do something and exercise does actually allow people not only to reduce their perception of pain but to overcome limited functioning.

Whether you are suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia or a chronic injury, just remember to pace yourself.

Here are 9 types of exercise that can help get you moving.



This is a low-impact activity that’s a good choice if you have the physical capability.

The benefit is that you can exercise almost anywhere: The local shopping centre, the local school track or a parking lot. It has appeal.

It’s easy to do and it’s an option you can do during all four seasons no matter where you live, and there are very few conditions where walking is not feasible.



Swimming is great for people who have osteoarthritis, who have musculoskeletal issues or any joint disease where any kind of impact may exacerbate an underlying problem.

The reason- swimming (and other forms of water exercise) defies gravity, so there aren’t any unpleasant and potentially damaging jolts to the joints.



The breathing component of yoga might be just as helpful to ease chronic pain as the movement and stretching.

Yoga can involve very extreme ranges of motion involving the spine and other joints so there is a risk of injury. You want to do whatever is a comfortable range of motion within your abilities.

Don’t push it unless you’re in very good condition but even someone who is bedridden could simply start with certain breathing exercises and focusing on different body parts, integrating this into either active or passive movements (such as contracting a muscle).


Tai Chi

A good exercise for the young and old alike is tai chi, a martial art that originated in China and like yoga, cultivates mindfulness.

Tai chi is marvellous. There’s almost no one too old as long as you can move a little bit. It incorporates the body and the mind.

A New England Journal of Medicine study this year found that twice-weekly sessions of tai chi reduced pain, stiffness, and fatigue in fibromyalgia patients. Tai chi also helps with building strength, endurance, and balance.



This increasingly popular exercise regimen, developed by Joseph Pilates in the early days of the last century, helps with core strength building for a society that’s extraordinarily burdened by low back pain.

In addition to people with back pain, people with fibromyalgia may benefit from this fitness system. A 2009 study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that Pilates improved pain more than a relaxation/stretching regimen.

But Pilates generally requires some instruction, so look for an experienced teacher.


Simple Stretching

You can do this activity in the bedroom or while waiting in line.

Stretching and getting all your body parts moving in a full range of motion and working just a little bit against gravity is helpful. There are a million different stretching programs to choose from.

Muscle weakness is very common in fibromyalgia. A combination of pain, fatigue and inactivity often leads to weaker and wasted muscles. This can make it even more difficult to do your normal daily activities.


screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-2-19-03-pmLight-weight and strength training

Weight training is particularly helpful for people suffering from arthritis.

The exercises strengthen the joints around the injury and that takes some of the stress off the joint when you’re using it.

Research has shown that strength training can reduce pain and other symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. Strength training involves working your muscles a little harder than you do in normal life.

Weights that are from 2 to 5 kilos will help. However, it’s important to pace yourself when doing these exercises.

Start with a can of soup, if you’ve been inactive for a long time, or try doing sit-ups or push-ups around the house.

Theraband soft weights and resistance bands provide aids for all levels of strength training.



Don’t laugh! Sexual activity counts as a form of exercise. Exercise and healthy sex (which is, after all, a form of exercise) are probably two of the most important panaceas against pain but healthy sex is harder to prescribe than exercise.

A recent study from Stanford University found that undergrads in the throes of a new love affair were less likely to feel pain inflicted on them.


Aerobic Activity

In general, aerobic activities (which can include using the treadmill or riding on a stationary bike) are particularly good for people with fibromyalgia.

A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 2008 found that strength-only training helped with symptoms, but that aerobic activity helped alleviate symptoms as well as improved physical function.

And besides helping your heart, the aerobics activates your endogenous opioid mechanisms…to reduce pain.


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