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Managing Your Chronic Pain

Steve Haake, PT, DPT and Sarah Kalkman, SPT

An estimated 116 million adults in the United States are affected by some form of chronic pain including conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic low back pain. Regular exercise programs including aerobic, strengthening and flexibility exercises can be beneficial to those with chronic pain.

Being inactive due to pain or the fear of pain only leads to deconditioning or “becoming out of shape.” This may actually increase pain because the body is not functioning as well as it could be.

There are many benefits of exercise for those suffering from chronic pain:

  • Strengthening exercises focused on core muscles will help support bones and cartilage and improve mobility, relieving stiffness and acting as a natural support system for large bone structures commonly burdened with pain.
  • Regular exercise also helps avoid obesity which can contribute to chronic pain. Less weight on one’s joints means less mechanical force and pain one may feel.

A physical therapist can create an individualized program and help you learn how to self-manage your pain throughout the day. A physical therapist can teach you various exercises to improve flexibility, range of motion, strength and core stability. Also, if needed, you can learn how to correct your posture and incorporate ergonomic principles into your activities of daily living.

Through physical therapy, you can learn good habits and principles that enable you to better take care of your body and ultimately have a better quality of life.

By Natalie Stone|03/03/2015