Movement Person with leg outstretched in exercise for chronic pain.

What is Movement?

Movement focuses on any physical activities that enhance mobility and physical wellness. When it comes to exercise for chronic pain, there can be a lot of safety concerns, a lack of confidence, and frustration with the limited modification options. We’re here to help you navigate that. Yoga, Tai Chi and other movement-based interventions have the ability to promote a sense of well-being and improve our confidence in being able to use our bodies in ways that we may have given up after developing chronic pain.

Woman in park practicing chronic back pain exercises.
Woman in yoga pose using physical exercise for chronic pain.

The Benefits

We know that over time chronic pain can limit your physical activities and we often avoid movement to avoid pain or flare-ups. Yet by starting gently, consistent exercises and stretches can be important treatments that aid in health, mobility and overall pain sensation. Chronic pain physical exercise & practices, from yoga and strength training to cardio and stretching, can offer the following benefits:

– Reduced overall pain levels
– Decreased inflammation
– Increased mobility and improve physical functioning
– Improved overall physical and mental health
– Aid in muscle conditioning

The Science

For years chronic pain sufferers were told to avoid activity, but researchers are now finding that exercise can benefit a range of chronic conditions by reducing the severity of pain and improving overall health. A 2017 in-depth review of 381 research studies found that physical function (mobility & conditioning) and pain severity in adults significantly improved with physical exercise, and activity may even improve quality of life and mental health. In addition, the evidence showed there were virtually no adverse health effects or potential harm other than very temporary muscle soreness.

Hand stretches for chronic pain with shadow in background.

Movement Articles

"If there is a voice in your head saying, 'You're too old, too awkward, too big, too broken, too weak,' physical sensations from movement can provide a compelling counter-argument. Even deeply held beliefs about ourselves can be challenged by direct, physical experiences, as new sensations overtake old memories and stories."

- Kelly McGonigal, PhD, health psychologist, Stanford University lecturer

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