It can be so difficult to get out of the chronic pain loop. For many people who suffer from chronic pain, even the thought of physical activity can be excruciating.
Unfortunately, the more a chronic pain patient remains at rest, there can be a corresponding increase in pain symptoms. At the same time, there is the fear that further activity will cause further damage.
This article will separate the fact (scientific studies) from fiction (popular belief). After examining the evidence, it will be clear what is best for patients who suffer from chronic pain.
The Benefits Of Rest:
There are times when rest is appropriate for patients with chronic pain. Typically, when a patient experiences an acute flare-up, rest is appropriate.
The purpose of this kind of rest is to bring the pain and inflammation under control. Activities such as the RICE method are beneficial in this acute stage. Rest, ice, compression, and movement should be used in conjunction with one another to manage pain and inflammation.
Once the pain and inflammation are under control, it will be a lot easier for the patient to return to exercise. Some patients skip the ice compression and movement because they can be can be uncomfortable. But these methods are critical to decreased pain. Especially pain caused by inflammation.
The Danger Of Rest:
There can be serious complications that can arise from patients who do not engage in regular exercise and activity. These can most often times cause more pain than exercise.
Muscles can grow stiff and weak from inactivity. Sure, muscles can become sore for a day or two with any new exercise. But prolonged rest can lead to atrophy and stiffness. Two conditions that will not improve with more rest.
Ligaments and tendons can lose their flexibility from inactivity. This can not only result in a loss of range of motion, but it can also cause further injury even with common activities.
Discs can lose their nutrients and fluids from lack of use. Loss of elasticity and flexibility can literally dry out the discs, leaving them at risk of injury.
The Benefits Of Exercise:
In a few short weeks, most patients actually experience a decrease in chronic pain. Most patients initial reaction is to treat chronic pain with rest and anti-inflammatory medication. The truth is, these two methods have little to no effect on long-term reduction of pain. In most cases, the pain can become even worse.
In most cases, regular exercise is the best treatment for any kind of chronic pain condition. Specialized programs that target a specific area of the body are usually not necessary. Its true these programs will not cause further injury. A general full body exercise program is suitable for most patients.
One of the biggest benefits is that a total body exercise program strengthens the body using natural body movements. These are the same movements that are used in everyday activities.
Total body exercise programs have also been proven to increase hormonal levels. Epinephrine and cortisol are known to prevent depression. Exercise literally gives chronic pain patients a “runner’s high” and lower symptoms of depression.
What To Watch Out For With Exercise Programs:
If patients do see an increase in chronic pain after weeks of treatment or have an acute flare-up, they should employ the RICE method including ice, compression, and movement. Using the complete course of treatment give the patient the greatest chance of success to return to normal activity.
When It’s Time To See A Medical Professional:
Inland Pain Medicine has the experience to treat a wide range of people who suffer from many chronic pain conditions. Our staff of medically trained pain management experts is here to help. We are licensed to administer a wide variety of proven procedures in the safety of our office. Give us a call at 909 887 2991 to set an appointment. Let us relieve the pressure and relieve your pain. So you may get back to your normal pain-free life.Leave a reply