Exercise can be a great way to ease chronic pain. There are risks associated with inactivity and benefits associated with movement.
When you're in pain, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind, but regular exercise can be a versatile weapon in the fight against chronic pain.
When you're inactive, your muscles — including your heart — lose strength and work less efficiently. Your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increases. Inactivity can increase fatigue, stress and anxiety as well.
"Years ago, people who were in pain were told to rest," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic,
Rochester, Minn. "But now we know the exact opposite is true. When you rest, you become deconditioned — which may actually contribute to chronic pain."
As tough as it may be to start an exercise program, your body will thank you. Exercise can: