How can I start an exercise program with chronic pain?

Debra Fulghum Bruce PhD
Healthcare Specialist

To gain the strengthening benefit without causing further pain or injury, appropriate technique is very important. Talk with your physician, and consider consulting with a physical therapist so that you have a specific program planned with your special pain needs in mind.

It can certainly be difficult to stick to an exercise routine when you have chronic pain, but studies have shown that physical conditioning in chronic pain patients can have immediate and long-term benefits. On the other hand, too little activity can lead to a loss of flexibility, strength, and endurance, and then to more pain.

It's important that you don't let fear of pain keep you from trying gentle activity. It’s much better if you stay active, avoid positions and activities that may increase or cause pain, use ice, and take pain relievers when you need them. You can also ask your doctor if a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist with special training in pain management can be added to your treatment team.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.