How long should I exercise for pain management?

Rick Olderman
Physical Therapy Specialist

When you have a chronic pain condition, one repetition of an exercise each day will not fix it. You may initially have to exercise several sessions each day until the length or strength of the involved muscles are at least partially corrected. Once this is accomplished, your pain will diminish, and you can begin whittling down the exercises.

People often believe that they will have to permanently set aside a lot of time for exercise. Not true. I am asking you to make time over the next two to four weeks to heal yourself. If that doesn’t sound realistic to you, then you need to rethink your priority of fixing yourself. Each session should take no longer than five to seven minutes, two to five times each day. In total, I am asking you to take 35 minutes a day for the next two to four weeks to get rid of years worth of pain. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses

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Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses

Hip and knee pain are often a result of poor pelvic muscle performance in combination with poor walking habits. This combination creates tracking problems in the hip socket or excessive rotation at...
If you’re exercising to help manage pain you should first consult your physician and get a release from them to make sure you’re healthy enough to engage in exercise. Once you have been cleared start, with very low level exercise and flexibility training to increase range of motion of your joints, lengthen tightened muscles and ease tension and pain. Doing activation and light strengthening of weak and tight muscles after they are stretched will help improve function of your body and its ability to move pain free. Follow this with light movement and look into low impact activities like tai chi and yoga, which have been shown to decrease pain in people with chronic pain. If you continue to experience the same level of pain or an increase in pain consult your physician to ensure that it is still safe for you to engage in exercise. 
Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
You can begin with as little as five minutes a day and work your way up towards a goal of at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity. You don’t have to do it all at once, so you can pace yourself and do a little at a time. Increase each day until you reach your goal. Then, talk to your doctor about incorporating some stretching and possibly strength training.

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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.