Managing Pain With Exercise

How Veterans Are Managing Their Chronic Pain With Simple Exercises

Living with persistent pain is draining, disheartening and limiting - yet notably more veterans struggle with amplified, poorly explained, or ongoing pain and discomfort than Australians who have not been in military service. Being defined as pain that lasts longer than three to six months and is experienced on most days of the week, chronic pain can include everything from specific problems like sore joints, back pain or nerve pain, to more complex and often multifactorial sensations like severe headaches, nausea, stomach aches and more.

With pain comes the natural tendency to withdraw from both physical and social activities, especially if the pain has also left us feeling irritable, short-tempered or withdrawn. Exercise is an important part of the pain management model for chronic pain that can have life-changing benefits - yet is often quickly overlooked by veterans out of fear that it will exacerbate their pain and leave them feeling worse. Here’s how veterans are managing their chronic pain with the help of simple exercises prescribed to them by their exercise physiologist - and how you can get an exercise physio on your team, too.

How Does Exercise Help With Chronic Pain?

Exercise is well-known to have a myriad of general health benefits, including:

  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Improving flexibility and joint health
  • Improving balance and coordination
  • Reducing your risk of falling and further pain and injury
  • Helping reduce stress and anxiety
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Helping your heart and brain health, reducing the risk of a range of conditions including heart disease and depression
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Aiding weight management to reduce stress on joints

When it comes to chronic pain specifically, studies have shown that exercise produces favourable results by reducing pain severity, significantly improving physical function, and improving psychological function and quality of life. Exercise has fewer severe consequences compared to opioid medication for pain management, is individualised and modified to meet each veterans unique needs, and can help reverse the downward cycle of deconditioning of the body and worsening pain. This means that over time, you can get back to doing the things you enjoy and general daily activities with greater ease. 

To find out more about how Exercise Physiology can help you, register your interest here.

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