Chronic pain is generally speaking categorised as a pain that is not relieved within 3 months. It is a very difficult condition to deal with, mainly due to the fact that one needs to learn coping strategies to manage the pain, so that it does not take over day-to-day life.
Pain specialists advise us to keep moving with chronic pain as this is what our bodies are designed to do. They emphasise that the best exercise is one that you enjoy and that you will continue to do routinely. This can be, going for a swim or having a gentle walk, but it must be everyday to gain the most benefits.
Pain specialists also advise that you do not want to push yourself too much when exercising if you are rehabilitating from chronic pain. Do not follow the “no pain, no gain” theory, as you do not want to cause any more structural damage to an injured area. Instead you want to exercise within your pain limits. This means you might need to exercise through some pain, but do not push yourself to the extreme.
Consult a physiotherapist – if you do not know how to exercise, they can give you a gradual exercise programme, which will not aggravate your injury.
Start small and do a gradual build up – start with simple exercises that will target the less painful areas of your body. As you begin exercising, your body releases its natural antidepressants called endorphins. As you get used to exercising, you might be able to do more. You might also benefit from writing down what exercises you are doing each day so that you can see your progress clearly.
Pace yourself – take plenty of rest breaks when exercising.
Make it fun – do an exercise that you enjoy. It helps if you have somebody you can exercise with.
Make it routine – you need to do a little bit of exercise everyday to see improvements and to foster the best possible recovery.