"Exercising with chronic pain can be challenging because pain and discomfort will limit the amount of exercise and level of exertion," Alice Benjamin, a clinical nurse specialist, tells Bustle. Benjamin suggests taking anti-inflammatory medicine like over-the-counter Motrin or Aleve before exercising "to get ahead of the pain."
Inactivity causes muscles and joints to weaken over time, but exercise can help those with chronic pain regain strength and increase energy. Exercise also releases endorphins, which can actually block pain signals from reaching the brain. Stress hormones tend to lower with regular exercise, and people who have a workout routine can look forward to better sleep after breaking a sweat.
While some kinds of exercise can make chronic pain more manageable, Benjamin does warn against overdoing it. "There’s no need punish yourself while exercising. Finding an enjoyable activity is key to making it a part of your routine activity. And start low and go slow with repetition and intensity. Build up the stamina. And know when something is uncomfortable because you haven’t worked out in a while and what hurts. If it hurts — stop right away," she tells Bustle.
There are some exercises that have been proven to help with chronic pain symptoms. Everyone (and everyone's pain) is different, so finding an exercise routine that works for your body is important.Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before beginning a new regime, if you are getting back into exercise, and don't be afraid to try out something new.