Managing chronic pain
National Pain Week aims to improve the knowledge and understanding about chronic pain across Australia. Chronic pain is a complex condition that affects 1 in 5 Australians over 45, and can affect many of the ways a person socialises, works and exercises.
Understanding the difference between acute and chronic pain is important in the management and treatment, therefore it is vital to consult with a medical or health professional to identify the cause and pathology of the pain.
For those who are currently living with chronic pain there are many management strategies include: pain education, diet, physical activity, relaxation, and sleep.
Incorporating regular physical activity when living with chronic pain is important not only in managing pain but also in reducing risks of chronic disease, weight management and mental wellbeing. For more complex cases, consulting with an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist will be necessary, as a combination of exercise and education will be necessary.
Here are a few tips on managing chronic pain through movement:
- Gradually increasing the amount of exercise is essential for chronic pain. Start small to ensure pain and fatigue levels don’t drastically increase the following day before increasing the intensity of duration of exercise.
- Remember that some soreness and fatigue is normal when starting out with new exercises.
- Record your exercise along with your energy and pain levels to assist with progressing.
- Understand that pain does not always follow a ‘straight path’. You might find yourself getting better for a few weeks and than have a setback. Don’t let this discourage you- focus on today and what you are able to achieve.
- Find an activity you enjoy. This might be a walk with a friend or going down to the pool- it doesn’t have to be lifting heavy weights or running up a hill (unless that’s what you enjoy!).
Remember that you are not alone. Make sure to let others help you in the journey of managing chronic pain. Try finding an exercise class to join or a professional to write you a plan; support is one of the best tools you can find. To find out more information about the ways pain can affect us check out the video below or speak to a medical or health profession:
NQSF Program Coordinator