Exercise with Chronic Pain

Exercise is a critical part of staying healthy, but for those living with chronic pain, it can be difficult to stay active. Exercise can help improve your mood, increase energy levels, and promote better sleep. However, it is important to take into account the type and level of pain you are experiencing when planning an exercise routine. In this blog post, we will discuss tips and tricks for staying active despite chronic pain.

How to Exercise with Chronic Pain

What is Considered Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even years.

There are many different types of chronic pain, but some of the most common include:

  • Arthritis pain
  • Back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Phantom limb pain

Despite its prevalence, chronic pain is often misunderstood. It’s not simply a case of “it hurts, so stop doing that.” In fact, chronic pain can be debilitating, but exercise can help. Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic pain, and it’s something you can do at home with little to no equipment.

Exercise with Chronic Pain Symptoms

If you suffer from chronic pain, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. It’s hard enough to get through the day without pain, let alone add in a workout. But even though it may seem counterintuitive, exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for chronic pain.

There are many benefits of exercise, including:

  • Improved mood (produces endorphins)
  • Increased energy levels
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Improves Strength
  • Nerves and discs get nutrients to improve health
  • Joints get lubricated and glide easier
  • Reduces flare-ups

Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important for chronic pain sufferers because extra weight can put added pressure on joints. If you are not used to exercising, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

Workouts you can do Even when you’re in Pain

There are many different workouts that can help to relieve pain, even when it is chronic. Swimming, for example, is a great way to get exercise without putting stress on your joints.

Pilates and yoga can also be helpful, as they both involve stretching and strengthening your muscles. Walking is another excellent option, as it is a low-impact activity that can help to increase circulation and reduce inflammation. You don’t have to give up your active lifestyle.

Exercise modifications for chronic pain

Chronic pain can be a major obstacle to leading an active lifestyle. Exercise is essential for overall health and chronic pain management, but it can be difficult to stay motivated when you’re in pain. Here are some tips and tricks for exercising with chronic pain:

Talk to your doctor

Before starting any exercise routine, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can give you specific recommendations based on your health and pain level.

Start slow

It’s important to start slowly when you’re beginning an exercise routine. If you try to do too much too soon, you’ll likely end up injured or in more pain. Start by exercising one to two days per week, 5 minutes or less. Slowly increase time and intensity until you can do a minimum 30 mins sessions.

Find an activity you enjoy

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring! Find an activity that you enjoy and look forward to doing. This will make it more likely that you’ll stick with it.

Listen to your body

Exercise is important, but so is rest. If you’re in pain, take a break and try again another day. Don’t push yourself too hard. Remember that some pain during or after exercise is normal. Intense pain is not. Listen to your body and stop if you are experiencing intense pain, do not push through. The last thing you want is to make any injury worse.

Consider Hiring a Trainer

Hiring a trainer that specializes in exercise and pain management is a great option. Sometimes having that extra support is all you need to get your routine going.


With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to improving your lifestyle and reducing pain with exercise! Just remember to start slow, find an activity you enjoy, listen to your body, and talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise.

Contact PMIR with any questions or concerns about your chronic pain.