The Link Between Exercise and Pain Relief

The Link Between Exercise and Pain Relief

It can seem like a Catch 22. You’re in pain, so exercise seems unappealing and perhaps unwise. You may have even been exercising when you developed your painful injury — why do more of that? You may have also heard that exercise can enhance healing. And bypassing it completely could interfere with your healing process while harming your overall health.

In general, exercise is indeed helpful for healing and wellness. You just need to make sure you’re going about it in safe and smart ways while prioritizing needed rest and care, too.

Our expert team at Northland Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri, diagnoses and treats a range of painful conditions, including sports injuries, arthritis, and fractures. Here, we explore the link between exercise and pain relief and ways to get the most out of both. 

How exercise helps chronic or lingering pain 

If you’ve just suffered an acute injury, it is not a smart time to put weight on or overly exert it. In fact, one sign of a sudden injury is an inability to use the affected body part fully or at all. Once pain becomes chronic or your healing process is underway, appropriate exercise can bring a variety of benefits, such as:

Many of these benefits play an important role in pain relief, both by lowering your discomfort and by guarding against worsening or additional strain.

Exercising safely to manage pain

Choosing appropriate activities and using proper technique are incredibly important when you’re living with chronic pain or an injury. The wrong movements can worsen matters by exacerbating pain or bringing on new pains or injuries. You should also ease gradually into exercise, avoid high impact activities, and listen to your body, stopping any activity that feels painful.

Before beginning an exercise regimen for pain relief, talk to your provider at Northland Orthopedic & Sports Medicine. If you have a sports injury or recently had joint replacement surgery, we may recommend physical therapy. There, you’ll learn which activities could be most helpful and which ones to avoid.  

Your approved exercise plan may include:

We may also recommend ice or heat therapy and elevation of the affected body part, such as an injured leg, after your exercise sessions. And as you engage in approved exercise, we may suggest additional treatments, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hyaluronic acid injections, or steroid injections. 

To learn more about exercise and pain relief or get the care you need, call Northland Orthopedic & Sports Medicine or request an appointment on our website. 

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