Physical activity and exercise is an important part of human life, promoting health and overall well-being. When dealing with persistent pain, exercise offers well-established benefits for a variety of different pain conditions, including neck and back discomfort, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraines.
Many people associate exercise benefits for pain with enhancements in strength, endurance, or flexibility. However, exercise also promotes the body’s innate healing mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory effects, the release of pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins from the brain, a reduction in nervous system sensitivity, and improvements in sleep quality and mood.
Beneficial types of exercise include:
Engaging in activities you enjoy can reduce the perceived threat to your pain system, making them more physiologically tolerable. This can include playing with children, participating in social exercise activities like outdoor walking classes, and joining excursions.
Water’s therapeutic properties can calm and soothe the sensitive nervous system. The buoyancy of water also facilitates movements that may be challenging on land.
Targeted resistance exercise
This can utilise body weight, resistance bands, free weights, or machines to enhance strength, reduce the risk of falls, and improve everyday functionality.
Stretching and flexibility
These exercises improve joint mobility, expand range of motion, and reduce stiffness.
Mind and body exercises
Practices such as Yoga and Tai Chi contribute to mental wellbeing, balance, mobility, and pain management.
At Bankstown City Aged Care’s Wellness Centre, we understand the enduring discomfort that persistent pain can cause, and why physical activity can be beneficial for managing pain effectively, with many of our aged care patients engaging in our services to help them out with their mobility and other pain concerns.