When you live with chronic pain, exercise is the last thing you want to do. When have been diagnosed with a chronic immune disorder, exercising will feel like your biggest challenge. Take for instance fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue and arthritis. You may have painful tender areas, shooting pain, joint and muscle stiffness, and random body aches. With all of this, exercise may not be first on your list. However, it can actually be the most helpful in order to ease pain. Staying active is the most important thing you can do and should be part of your regular treatment protocol.
Not only does chronic pain affect your energy levels and musculoskeletal system but also your brain and whole body. In the long term, this can lead to depression, difficulty sleeping, isolation from others and diminished quality of life. So it is vital that exercise and movement be part of your everyday life.
Moderate aerobic and strength training can improve pain, increase flexibility and improve overall health and well-being. Such exercises include:
Warm water aerobics class
Numerous studies have shown these to be very beneficial for chronic pain sufferers. The main focus is movement. If you don’t like traditional exercise you can do just about any activity you enjoy doing that gets you moving.
Now, with chronic pain comes the issue of medication. With these conditions over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin are generally recommended to alleviate some of the symptoms. In addition, prescription pain relievers such as Tramadol may also be given.
The problem with this is that many pain relievers are not very effective for treating long-term chronic conditions and often have many side effects. It may mask the pain temporarily, but does not address the underlying issue.
A few things I find that work really well with my patients is supplementing with Curcumin, Boswellia, White Willow Bark or Harpogophytum. These herbs aid in pain relief and reduce inflammation with little to no side effects.
Also, Craniosacral therapy is great for chronic pain. This therapy allows for a release of physical restrictions and imbalances, freeing the central nervous system in order to restore immune function and relieve pain. If you use topical pain relievers, natural versions work quite well; Arnica, Topricin and Traumeel T-Relief are all wonderful.
Chronic immune dysfunction is multi faceted. It is a culmination of imbalances and recurrent or persistent infections that lead to the main problem. In order to get better, you must get to the root of the cause. Chronic pain may be triggered by autoimmune related disorders that have been slowly worsening over time. That is why diet and lifestyle is extremely important.
When patients come into our office we spend a great deal of time going over their diet, environment and stressors so that we can better devise an individualized treatment plan that will suit their needs and lifestyle.
Chronic pain shouldn’t limit you. It is not a condition that occurs overnight. Therefore, treatment will not happen overnight. However, positivity, movement and support changes your whole outlook and is a must for taking control of your health.