Chronic Illness/Pain & Exercise

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

“Exercise,” I’ve been told. “It will enhance your mood; not to mention prevent things like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity etc. – and will even lessen your pain.”

Good advice? Yes.

But that’s not the real question. It’s:

“How realistic is exercise when you’re in excruciating pain, frighteningly fatigued or utterly depressed?”

I’ve personally found that exercise, more often than not, increases my pain level; yet I still exercise. How? I do something I love, with someone I love.

My husband and I dance 15 minutes of salsa, meringue, bachata, cha-cha or kompa whenever I feel well enough. This has been the most successful out of everything we’ve tried. Why? It’s fun, we both love it and therefore motivate each other. We do so just before bed so, if I need to, I can take a strong painkiller that will help me to sleep it off. Oh and I don’t work, so if I wake up in excruciating pain, I can stay in bed all day.

How I benefit?

  1. I feel it strengthens my marriage.
  2. It makes me feel better about myself.
  3. It keeps me in shape even though my life is sedentary.
  4. When my loving mother says,”You need to exercise.” (her cure all for most things). I say – “I do” – and then we’re thankfully onto another topic :). Gatta love mothers right ;)!

Do you exercise despite chronic illness/pain?

What type of exercise do you do?

Does it help you in anyway?

– Skylar


8 thoughts on “Chronic Illness/Pain & Exercise

  1. I suffer from migraine and I have MS. I have to admit that I have a difficult time exercising. I am constantly fighting off fatigue, so exercise is the last thing on my mind. BUT, having said that, I recognize that it does help me feel better in the long run. I feel fitter so I feel better about myself. It also lifts the haze that envelopes my mind. I practice yoga—I follow David Swenson’s short form Ashtanga yoga (15 or 30 mins). Sometimes I do Zumba for 15-30 mins. I can extend to an hour sometimes, but I listen to my body and just do what I can. It doesn’t come naturally for me yet; it’s something I have to consciously decide to work on every single day.

    • Thx for sharing & following my blog. I like that you mentioned listening to your body. That’s so important. It’s a good reminder for me and I’m sure others who will read your comment. When I have a good day, or I’m doing something I enjoy, I almost always over do it and repent as I suffer agonizing pain.

  2. I have migraines for over 20 years now. With Dr. Buchholz 1-2-3 Program I was able to manage it in a way I didn´t feel disabled any more. Then my quality of life was suddenly over. I had to take measures against an ulcer (caused by pain meds for migraine), ranitidine. The medication caused chronic migraine, on a full blown level. I stopped the medication but a low level daily migraine stayed with me. I decided to fight it with exercise. The last idea I had. And it worked. The chronic state is gone and I continue exercising minimum 3 days per week. I never had a exercise related migraine. The trick is to start with a minimum of 10 minutes of super slow warm up. Then 20 minutes of medium level exercise that still feels easy and comfortable. Then 5 minutes cool down. Works for me. Will continue.

    • I’m sorry I’ve taken an eternity to respond. I took a break from writing. I just felt so consumed by my pain.

      Thanks for sharing! I have been doing the Buchholz 1-2-3 Program off and on for a while. It can be so hard; especially eating out. My husband and I talked about starting that again, along with our dancing regimen that had also been put on hold. Your comments about the diet helping you give me hope. I’ve not yet been as strict as the program requires. How strict were you and for how long?

      How is your exercise program going. Are your migraines still under control? How about the ulcers?

  3. Pingback: Workout Despite Chronic Migraine | MigrainePuzzlePieces

  4. Pingback: Exercise Despite Chronic Migraine – “My-Graine” Action Plan Step 5 | MigrainePuzzlePieces

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