Hello spring: Commit to a more active lifestyle for pain management
March 6, 2020
We know that changing seasons may have an effect on pain levels, but different seasons can also affect your lifestyle. After a long, cold, rainy winter season, spring is finally here! If you have spent more time indoors being inactive than you would have liked, now is the time to recommit to a more active lifestyle.
“Active lifestyle” can mean something different to each of us, and it may take some time to find the right combination of activities that work for you. You are looking for activities that improve your pain, mood, attitude, and overall quality of life.
Strategies for movement & exercise
While it’s very important, adding in more movement and activity can be tricky. If you experience chronic pain, exercising in any way may be the last thing you want to do. But the longer you avoid it, the harder it will be to get started. Depending on your current state of health, it may help decrease inflammation, increase mobility, and decrease overall pain levels, without required medication.
Any safe movement for even a short period of time is good movement, such as:
- Stretching exercises — It’s important to stretch at least once a day to help increase flexibility, loosen tight/stiff muscles, and improve your range of motion. Stretching will help ease your everyday movements.
- Cardiovascular exercises — Walking, swimming, or biking provide light aerobic exercise, which provides many healing benefits. You can do cardio pretty much at any time of the day with little or no equipment. Walking 30 minutes three to five times per week can help increase strength, endurance, and heart health. Remember to start slow and work your way up to longer distances as you get stronger. If you use a walker or a cane, be sure to take it with you.
- Swimming & water aerobics — If you have access to a pool, these exercises are best done in warm water as it helps relax muscles. The weightlessness you experience while in the water also helps with movement and minimizes the load on your joints. Swimming is a great alternative to walking if you have mobility issues.
- Yoga — The combination of mental and physical restoration can be very helpful to those who suffer from chronic pain. Yoga can be particularly good for those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, lower back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions.
- Daily tasks — There are probably many things you would normally do on a daily basis that you have avoided due to winter weather and/or your pain. But with warmer weather, try doing these regular tasks again. Take your dog out for a short walk, walk to the mailbox, park a little farther away from the store, and get up to complete regular housework. Combining all of these tasks with other types of movement mentioned above will make a big difference in increasing your activity levels.
Inactivity leads to stiff muscles, decreased mobility, and decreased strength. These effects can worsen the symptoms of chronic pain. Leading an active lifestyle will help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Specific exercises may vary depending on the origin of your chronic pain and your unique situation.
Southside Pain Specialists is your one-stop shop for pain management
With a multitude of pain relief options tailored to your specific needs, Southside Pain Specialists follow the standards of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, The American Board of Pain Medicine, and the International Spinal Injection Society. We work hard to provide patients with comprehensive, caring pain relief when they need it most. Check out our website or contact us today at 205.332.3155 to learn more.