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Exercise and Chronic Pain

If you're dealing with chronic pain, exercise may be the last thing you want to do. But with so many benefits associated with exercise -- including less pain -- it's worth a shot. There are many ways to increase your chances of success, such as finding an activity that's fun for you, seeing your doctor about appropriate medications, and teaming up with an exercise partner.

But It Hurts! Real-World Solutions to the Exercise/Chronic Pain Conundrum

You've heard it before. In many chronic pain situations, exercise is vital to a "big picture" approach to pain management. But when you're hurting, exercise is likely on the very bottom of your list of desirable activities. It can easily become a vicious cycle -- you don't exercise because you hurt, and the pain gets worse as you become more and more sedentary. But take heart! We have a few suggestions that just might get you up and moving. 

Find Your Joy

Think back to your childhood. What types of physical activities brought you joy? Swimming? Exploring nature? Kicking around a soccer ball or shooting hoops? Use these memories to help guide you toward activities that you will enjoy and will therefore be more likely to continue. There is no reason why exercise has to be boring, repetitive, or unpleasant. Always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new type of exercise, though, because you'll want to avoid physical activities that do more harm than good.

Be Accountable

Even with an activity you love, you may find yourself wanting to skip your planned exercise from time to time. Perhaps you're at the end of a long day, and nothing sounds better than simply winding down on the couch. For those who prefer morning exercise, perhaps your warm bed is just too inviting. In these situations, an exercise partner can be a valuable asset. If you know someone is waiting for you, you'll be much more likely to follow through with your exercise plans.
Your exercise partner doesn't necessarily have to be the human type. A pet that needs a daily walk can be a wonderful motivator.
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