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Why is exercise important to managing chronic pain?

Aerobic exercise (where your heart rate goes up) causes your body to release endorphins, which are its natural painkillers. These natural chemicals can help to manage chronic pain. Other types of exercise, such as weightbearing exercise (ex. walking) can help your bones get stronger. Weight-training and weightlifting exercises can make both your muscles and bones stronger. Together, different forms of exercise can help you with your pain, strength, and flexibility so that you can do more things and feel better about it.

Howard S. Smith
Pain Medicine
I believe most chronic pain patients have a reduced quality of life, which can be directly related to the result of other symptoms that impede activity, such as fatigue or depression. However, exercise and increased mobility are important components of a pain management plan to reduce the frequency of painful flares, improve endurance for daily activities, improve cardiovascular fitness, and improve coping skills. In other words, the more conditioned or fit you become, the more you can handle increased activity and have a better quality of life.
Jennifer N. Caudle, DO
Family Medicine

Exercise can be an important treatment option for chronic pain, depending on the cause of that pain. Watch family medicine physician Jennifer Caudle, DO, explain why a solid diagnosis is key to determining if exercise can help manage chronic pain.


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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.