Exercise and Chronic Pain

Exercise and Chronic Pain


Chronic pain is defined as a pain which lasts longer than the expected time for healing and begins to interfere with normal life.

In individuals suffering from chronic pain, the pain is felt long after the injury has been healed or the patient has recovered from the disease.

Chronic Pain and Exercise

According to a recent news release, patients suffering from chronic pain are to be offered free exercise on prescription at their local gyms.

Experts point out that a period of prolonged inactivity increases weakness and causes loss of muscle mass and strength. In such cases, a regular exercise program and physical therapy can help you in regaining strength, increasing energy levels and developing a more positive attitude towards life.

Key Benefits

Exercise offers a vast series of advantages for the individuals suffering from chronic pain.

Here we have briefly listed each of the benefits associated with an exercise regimen in chronic pain.

  • Helps the body in releasing endorphins:- Endorphins are the chemicals that block pain signals from reaching the brain. In addition, endorphins also help in alleviating anxiety and depression.
  • Builds strength: – Exercise helps you build bodily strength by making the muscles stronger, which further helps you in taking the load off your bones and cartilage. This eventually gives an increased relief from pain.
  • Increases flexibility:- Joints become increasingly flexible through regular exercise. Consequently, joints which can move a full range of motion have the least chances of being afflicted by aches and pains.
  • Improves the quality of sleep:- Stress hormones are lowered by regular exercise, which in turn results in a better quality of sleep.
  • Boosts energy levels:- Regular exercise increases the overall energy level which helps the patient to cope with chronic pain.
  • Helps in maintaining a healthy weight:- Exercise burns a lot of calories that helps in losing weight. This decreases stress on the joints, helping to reduce chronic pain.

Exercise also helps in enhancing the mood, which contributes to the overall state of health.

The Guidelines

Fitness experts suggest starting at a slower pace and then increasing the amount of exercise gradually.

For an exercise regimen to have the maximum benefit for sufferers of chronic pain, it is important that certain guidelines be followed. Here we briefly list the most important amongst them.

  • Know your objective
  • Be aware of your fitness and stamina levels
  • Develop a proper weekly plan for exercise
  • Take proper medical guidance whenever required
  • Use proper equipment and wear comfortable clothes while exercising
  • Take proper rest at regular intervals
  • Monitor your progress on a regular basis

Types of Exercises

In this section, we give information on the various types of exercises that can be performed to help in the reduction of chronic pain.

  • Water aerobics

    Also known as aqua therapy, water aerobics is one of the best exercises advised for chronic pain. Exercising in water is known to reduce the amount of force traveling through the joints and allowing muscles to move in many directions and increase blood flow to the heart.

  • Walking

    Walking is one of the most natural and result-oriented forms of exercise for relief from chronic pain. It boosts the overall energy levels and increases the flexibility in muscles and joints, thereby helping in reducing chronic pain.

  • Aerobics

    A regular aerobics programme has also been found highly effective in reducing chronic pain. However, it is strongly recommended that before starting on any form of aerobics, it is important to consult your healthcare professional. It is also important that you inform your fitness instructor of your pain and the related conditions.

  • Stretching

    Stretching is one of the best ways to provide maximum flexibility to your muscles, joints and ligaments, thereby protecting you from pain flare-ups and repeated episodes of chronic pain.

A modified Pilates programme and cycling are the other forms of exercise that are extremely helpful in management of chronic pain.


A majority of individuals inflicted with chronic pain are concerned with the aspect of exercise due to the fear of hurting themselves or aggravating the pain.

However, experts insist that if the exercise regimen is planned with proper expertise and guidance, it can actually ease chronic pain in most of the cases.