How Exercise Can Help with Chronic Pain

I am grateful to Mary Byrne Eigel for this re-post of one of her pieces   Lightening Up with Chronic Pain 

Exercise is a great pain management technique. But when you are in pain it can be your nemesis and most of time it can feel like work. It is usually something I do because it is a good thing to do, not because I want to do it or that it is enjoyable. My logical brain tells me that it is a way of maintaining flexibility and keeping pain at arm’s length. But I have noticed something recently that has happened in relation to exercise that I felt worth sharing.

I have only been on one team in my whole life, a college intramural basketball team. I had occasion to observe folks at our local “Y” playing water volleyball. They appeared to be having so much fun. I just happened to be in the pool when they were asking if anyone wanted to play. I thought “They are playing in  water, I love being in water. If I fall, I’m in water, how could that hurt?  If the ball drops, it does not fall to the ground where I cannot retrieve it, it’s on the water.” So I decided to give it a try.  Needless to say I am now  playing each week. I look forward to playing. I have never looked forward to exercising like I look forward to this.

There is a real sense of “joy” that comes from engaging in this activity.

It is joyful playing with others.

It is joyful being able to be on a team.

It is joyful being able to do something that is so beneficial and fun.

Being with others with various physical limitations, playing a sport that has very loose rules, laughing at silly mistakes and getting one heck of a workout makes this a perfect pain management tool. What keeps me valuing this  activity is not that it assists with pain management, but that it is “fun” and that I can do it, and that does wonders for my self image.

Do you have an activity that gives you joy that is also beneficial in terms of pain management? I would love to hear your answer.

Mary Byrne Eigel blogs at CHRONIC PAIN RECOVERY  http://bluestarmoon.wordpress.com/

Acknowledging Rebookah’s Photostream for the amazing photo