A little while ago I read a statistic that said that 116 million Americans are in chronic pain on a regular basis. That is a staggering statistic. Unfortunately, modern medicine is ill equiped to treat chronic pain. It is only within the last 20 to 30 years that modern medicine has begun to look at pain as a vital element of health, like blood pressure and weight.
Chronic pain can be debilitating. I have treated many people who have gone to every type of doctor to get rid of their chronic pain. Many times if a doctor can’t find a reason for the pain, and especially if the sufferer is a woman, the doctor will say that the pain is in her head. When it certainly is not. If you are having pain, you are not making it up. Pain is your body’s self protective mechanism, listen to it.
If you are in chronic pain, there are times that you will have to ignore the pain in order to exercise. Check with your doctor and make sure that you are doing no more harm to the area by exercising it. If you suffer from arthritis in your hips, knees, or ankles, then you will have to work through the pain to exercise. You wouldn’t want to run or walk for long distances. But you certainly can get on an elliptical machine, stair master, rowing machine, swim in a pool, or any other low impact cardio-vascular exercise that you may like and doesn’t hurt too much. You will be in pain if you don’t exercise, and if you do exercise. But if you are exercising, then at least you can decrease the progression of the arthritis or pain process, and can actually reverse some of the issues affecting your pain.
Even if it hurts when exercising, at least you’ll be doing some good for your body. I usually advise to listen to your body and use pain as a guide. If it hurts then don’t do it. This is applicable to people in chronic pain, but if it hurts to do everything, you can’t stay away from doing everything. Find the things that don’t hurt as much. Find the activities that make you feel better afterwards, not worse afterwards. Do listen to your body, but keep yourself moving. Especially as you age, use it or lose it is very accurate. It is a lot easier to lose conditioning and strength then it is to get it back. And as you get older, it gets harder and harder and takes more and more time to get back into shape.
This is a great slide show that shows how to live with chronic pain and how to manage it.