The Effects of Different Types of Exercise in Pain Management

“Regular physical activity helps ward off the ill effects of immobility. It prevents joint stiffness & muscle tightness, & ameliorates blood circulation. Popular physical activities like swimming & walking, have shown to be effective in decreasing pain & improving function. Moreover, research shows that rehabilitation programs have long-term effects on people with chronic pain” [1]
When physical activity is coupled with personalised
treatment from a Pain Specialist, then the sufferer has the best possible chance of getting back to optimal health

So lets take a deep dive into the best exercise options for pain management:

Cardiovascular Exercise

“Cardiovascular exercise is any vigorous activity that increases heart rate & respiration & raises oxygen & blood flow throughout the body while using large muscle groups of the body repetitively & rhythmically” [2]

Also known as endurance or aerobic exercise, cardiovascular exercise describes any type of activity that uses ‘aerobic metabolism.’ The latter means that during these kinds activities, a substantial amount of oxygen is required to generate the necessary energy to sustain the activity. Our heart beat is elevated, and we breath in more deeply in order to maximise the level of oxygen in our blood, and utilise more oxygen efficiently [2].

Of note: the activity must increase our heart and breathing rate to a level of moderate to vigorous intensity (that is at least 50% of the normal rate), for at least 10 minutes. This means that lifting weights, working on weight machines, and doing other types of resistance exercises to bolster our strength, are not regarded as cardiovascular exercises, as they do not elevate our heart rate during the exercise sessions [2].


Did you know that you can boost your heart health, strength and endurance, by walking for half an hour, 3 to 5 times a week? [3]. So change your pattern, and get walking to your local park or shops!

Swimming & Water Aerobics

As a Pain Consultant will tell you – if you suffer from mobility problems, these are excellent low-impact cardiovascular exercise alternatives, that get you exercising without inflicting additional stress on your muscles and joints [3].

One medical review on lower back pain showed evidence that: “Pilates, McKenzie therapy & functional restoration were more effective than other types of exercise treatment for reducing pain intensity and functional limitations. Nevertheless, people with chronic low back pain should be encouraged to perform the exercise that they enjoy to promote adherence” [4]

Visiting a Pain Specialist

Getting an accurate diagnosis about the cause of your pain, and understanding the potential long-term damage that it can cause if not medically treated, is extremely important. So be sure to book an online or in-person appointment with an experienced Pain Doctor as soon as possible.


[1]. Physiopedia (2022). “Exercise and Activity in Pain Management.” physical activity help in,by Ickmans K et al.

[2]. Fyzecal (2023). “What is Cardiovascular Exercise?”

[3]. Healthline (2017). “7 Exercises for Reducing Chronic Pain.”

[4]. Hayden et al. “Some types of exercise are more effective than others in people with chronic low back pain: a network meta-analysis.” Journal of Physiotherapy,Volume 67, Issue 4, 2021, Pages 252-262 “″