Exercising with pain

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People who experience pain are reluctant to take part in exercise and think it will make their pain worse, however regular exercise is important for general health as well as for decreasing pain and disability. Intensity should be suitable and progresses sensibly for the individual. All types of activity are beneficial to reducing pain as long as they are monitored and training plans are put in place to ensure they are beneficial to the individual. Levels should be increased as the client feels confident to do so. This will increase the likeliness of the client continuing with the plan as they are not scared to exercise


Exercising with Acute Pain. 

If you experience a sharp pain in your muscles and /or joints, stop exercising and see your doctor or sports therapist /physiotherapist. There are many causes for acute pain, it may just be a small muscle tear usually from a tight muscle or a muscular knot, these of which can be easily massaged out. The more severe the acute pain is could determine a more severe strain, sprain or a break. The former can still be tended to by a sports therapist /physio but if it’s a break then it’s a trip to the hospital and the sports therapists role would come in either after the cast has been removed to assist with breaking down any scar tissue if there was an incision for plates and pins, or if there’s no cast fitted then ultrasound is great for increasing the production of osteoids (bone builders) which repair the bone, massage would also help with re-balancing the body after it has over compensated.


Exercising with chronic pain.

Chronic pain is ongoing and often a symptom of a larger health problem like arthritis or disc degenerative problems. Most people living with chronic pain can exercise safely and it can assist with pain management. In fact, being inactive can sometimes lead to a cycle of more pain and loss of function. Talk to your doctor about what exercises / activities might be right for you. Each type of exercise – endurance, strength, balance and flexibility—has its own benefits, so a combination may be best.

  • Strength exercises can help maintain or add to your muscle strength. Strong muscles support and protect joints. Weight-bearing exercises include using resistance bands or weighted wristbands.
  • Endurance exercises make the heart and arteries healthier and may lessen swelling in some joints. Low-impact endurance exercises include swimming and bicycling.
  • Flexibility exercises help to keep joints moving, relieve stiffness, and allow for more freedom of movement for everyday activities. Flexibility exercises include upper and lower body stretching, yoga, and tai chi.


Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which may relieve knee or hip pain from osteoarthritis, for example. Putting on extra pounds can slow healing and make some pain worse.


Exercise helps to…

  • Decrease muscle tension and nervous system sensitivity
  • Increase memory and concentration reducing your risk of Alzheimers
  • Increase release of endorphins improving mood and acting as body’s natural pain killer
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Helps with weight control
  • Reduce risk and progression of diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Increase muscular strength
  • Prevent and reduce stress


Remember to listen to your body when exercising and participating in physical activities. Avoid over-exercising on “good days”. If you have pain, swelling, or inflammation in a specific joint area, you may need to focus on another area for a day or two. If something doesn’t feel right or hurts, seek medical advice right away.

Just because you are experiencing pain you shouldn’t be afraid to exercise. Exercise can lead to a better quality of life.


If in doubt seek professional advice from your Doctor, Sports therapist or Physiotherapist and remember we’re here to help you

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