“Food is the most widely abused ant-anxiety drug in America. Exercise is the most potent yet underutilized antidepressant.”
Let us begin with my truth: I have chronic pain and have had chronic pain for over twenty years. I never played sports in elementary school, middle school, nor high school or college. People who knew me back then had no idea how terrible my life was inside and definitely would not have pictured me being the health nut/in shape person I am today. Yes I have chronic pain. Yes I have had brain surgery. Yes I have come close to suicide due to chronic pain. Yes I am now I thirty four year old mother managing chronic pain naturally and living the best life I can. I deal with chronic pain every day, I just do not allow it to get in the way of living. So, when I say that exercise is good for people with chronic pain, I know because unlike many people who drive you nuts by saying: “Hey, maybe if you ate this or that your Fibro flares would decrease” or “You know , I heard on the news that exercising is great for chronic pain” or the worst………”Have you tried…” I live with chronic pain so I know exactly how you feel. I used to get ALL the same comments/questions/suggestions and although each person was trying to help me I wanted to punch a wall. They did not have chronic pain. They had no freaking clue how hard it was to get out of bed without wincing and crying. They had no idea how many doctors/nutritionists//therapists/surgeons etc had already told me the same thing. They had absolutely no damn clue what it felt like to live in pain twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
I learned how to manage chronic pain naturally many years ago and since then exercise has been a must in my every day life. I sleep in my work out clothes and no matter how I feel physically or emotionally I go into my living room, put on music and do a different form of exercise every day. It helps me manage chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. I would not have believed it either. I mean when the specialists at the Mayo Clinic had me exercising every day, I truly believed my pain would only escalate and I am happy to say I was absolutely wrong. However, this does not mean I just started lifting ten pound weights and running half marathons. I started slllllowwwww: just as you all should if you have chronic pain. This can be tricky because you really have to connect with your mind and body and tune everything else out. Exercise is so engrained in my daily routine that someone would be shocked if I said I slept in till nine and laid in bed all morning. I have to move. I start with stretches from my jaw to my toes. I then decide what type of exercise I want to do and how much time I have as my schedule changes every day. One day I may do interval training or twenty minutes of Tabata which I definitely do not recommend to anyone who has never exercised or has any form of chronic pain and is beginning to exercise. There are at least two days a week I do yoga and trust me there is a yoga video out there for everyone from ‘stress relief’ to ‘advanced poses’ to ‘chair yoga.’ Anyone can find some type of exercise that fits in with their management of chronic pain. Moderation is key as well. Years after exercising daily I started to love it, which is a good thing. However, I also began to over-do it and forgot to listen to my body which did end up escalating my pain levels. It is all about balance and you are all wise enough to listen to what your body is saying: not your mind: your body.
There are so many physical therapists out there who can help a person find a work our regiment that helps a person with chronic pain. However, things can be expensive. I will stress this again: I am here. I will answer any questions you have. I can help you find a work out or yoga practice that is right for you. I know chronic pain. I manage chronic pain naturally and I know exercise. You are never a bother. I try to respond to each of your emails as fast as I can. Your feedback is what helps me keep writing so never feel guilty for writing me: it is the opposite of a bother.