Many people will have made New Year’s Resolutions and will be endeavoring to stick to them. Exercise is a popular challenge. Spare a thought for the 10 million people in the United Kingdom who suffer from Chronic Pain who find exercise extremely difficult and often impossible.
I spoke to Deborah Hartland who specializes as an Occupational Therapist in the management of chronic pain. She says ‘chronic pain is a misunderstood complex medical condition; it is described as pain that persists for longer than expected. It can and does last for anything from between 3 months to 30 years or more.
Many people quite naturally seek medical intervention in an attempt to cure this problem but find that after months sometimes years of varying treatments they are still left with the pain. This is because Chronic Pain is due to changes in the Central Nervous System (Spinal cord and brain). The onset may be due to an injury but many people suffer from chronic pain without any cause.
Chronic Pain is very real but because you cannot see it, sufferers often find they are not believed which in turn not only impacts on the level of pain but on their emotional well being too.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends physical exercise combined with psychological therapy as strategies that will help people manage their Chronic Pain.
Although it is difficult to comprehend the healing process, this takes place in the first 3-6 months therefore physical exercise will not cause any further damage. However, as with anyone who has not undertaken exercise for a period of time it is very important that you use PACING as a tool to guide you into your first exercise session.
Pacing is another strategy that is a very helpful tool for someone who has chronic pain to use throughout their every day activities not just their exercise routines’
After confirming with your GP, sufferers should find a gentle exercise class which is appropriate to their level of fitness. Taking the first step can be difficult especially if you believe that chronic pain equals damage. Deborah Hartland can be contacted through SE Fitness.