Exercise is one of the most powerful tools for managing chronic pain. As a personal trainer in San Mateo, I have seen firsthand the benefits that regular exercise can have for individuals living with chronic pain. In this blog, we will explore the ways in which exercise can help to reduce pain, improve function, and enhance overall quality of life.
First, it is important to understand that chronic pain is a complex condition that is not well understood. Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists for more than 12 weeks and is often accompanied by other symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Common causes of chronic pain include arthritis, fibromyalgia, and back pain.
Exercise is one of the most effective non-pharmacological treatments for chronic pain. According to a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, exercise is associated with a moderate reduction in pain and improved function for individuals with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, low back pain, and knee osteoarthritis. (1)
So, how does exercise work to reduce pain? One of the main mechanisms by which exercise reduces pain is through the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body. Exercise also increases blood flow, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Additionally, exercise can help to improve muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance, which can help to reduce pain and improve function.
Another key benefit of exercise for managing chronic pain is that it can help to improve overall quality of life. According to a review of randomized controlled trials, exercise is associated with significant improvements in physical function, mental health, and overall quality of life in individuals with chronic pain conditions. (2)
As a personal trainer in San Mateo, I work with many clients who are living with chronic pain. My approach to exercise for chronic pain is to start with a thorough assessment to understand the client's specific pain condition and to develop an exercise program that is tailored to their individual needs. I typically recommend a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching. I also emphasize the importance of pacing and listening to the body to avoid overdoing it and causing more pain.
It is important to note that exercise should not be used as a replacement for medical care, rather it should be used as a complementary approach. If you are living with chronic pain, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.
In conclusion, exercise is an effective and evidence-based approach for managing chronic pain. As a personal trainer in San Mateo, I have seen firsthand the benefits that regular exercise can have for individuals living with chronic pain. If you are looking for a personal trainer to help you manage your chronic pain, I invite you to contact me at Holly Roser Fitness.
Fjellestad-Paulsen A, et al. "Exercise therapy for fibromyalgia – a systematic review." J Rehabil Med. 2011;43(8):611-623.
Biddle S, et al. "Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(7):CD006145.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a researcher, this quote is just a joke.