Thursday, March 27, 2014

Treating Chronic Pain with Exercise

It seems a bit contradictory but exercise helps relieve chronic pain. Its one thing if you have an injury that needs to heal but then they send you to physical therapy to regain range of motion and start movement. It may be include some ouching but it means it is helping as well.

I have fibromyalgia and RA (in case you  haven't figured it out yet) and I go to the gym three times a week. I am one of the 40% or so (or whatever that low number is) of Americans who get the recommended amount of exercise weekly. At the gym, I do 45-60 minutes of cardio followed by strengthening exercises and weights (yup, I can lift the giant 1 lb weights with ease).

Some days are a little harder than others. Yesterday the muscle on the top of my right thigh was very unhappy with some of what I was doing and my left hip told me how I could not do some exercises. But I did finish 95% of my workout which is just fine.

Exercise does make me feel better. Some of my doctors are impressed with the range of motion I have in my shoulders and hips because of my ailments. Exercise and stretching has allowed me to retain this. It has been suggested I try swimming. But since I hate swimming laps, that has not happened.

However there are always overachievers. I am not an overachiever regarding exercise these days. Katie Pumphrey is an overachiever. She swims to help with her fibromyalgia. But if that wasn't enough, she is training to swim the English Channel. No I am not kidding. The English Channel is not what we call an easy swim. To put it in context:

"Fewer people (1,429) have crossed the channel solo than have climbed Mount Everest (more than 4,000), and only 446 of the swimmers have been women. Eight people have died trying since Matthew Webb first accomplished the feat, in 1875 — though the success rate, which was tiny in the early 1900s, has risen sharply in recent years.

If all goes well, Pumphrey will enter the water in Dover, England, on Aug. 8 or 9, 2015, and emerge in Cap Gris Nez, France. The distance is 21 miles, but the shifting tides guarantee that few swim directly across. In July 2010, 56-year-old Jackie Cobell reached Calais, France, after swimming 64 miles in nearly 29 hours."

This will be a feat for the record books as far as I am concerned. So to the non-exercisers out there, I just say aim high and start moving. For those with pain, remember every journey starts with a single step.

1 comment:

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