There have been days when I didn’t feel like moving because of the pain, but I quickly learned that inactivity just makes things worse, namely increased stiffness which translates into increased pain. So I keep moving; Pilates, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, daily walks and more. A varied exercise routine not only keeps me from getting bored but addresses what my body needs at a particular moment.
It may seem counter-intuitive or simply unthinkable to exercise when you have chronic pain, but according to the Mayo Clinic and Canadian Mental Health Association, exercise can have both physical and mental benefits.
Studies show that sustained, physical activity stimulates your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced in the brain, which bind to neuron receptors to reduce sensations of pain. In addition to its role in pain management, endorphins are credited for reducing anxiety and depression and for increasing overall feelings of euphoria and well-being in individuals.
Additionally, exercise is not the only activity that stimulates endorphin release: acupuncture, massage, meditation and laughter can also, in varying degrees, prompt your body to secrete endorphins.
The good news is that whether its yoga, walking, swimming, cycling or sex (a powerful trigger for endorphin-release), a variety of physical activity can go a long way towards pain management and overall health.
So get moving and kick-start your body’s feel-good endorphins!