“But, Doctor, It Hurts When I Exercise” is a commonly discussed issue with patients. If you struggle with neuropathy, complications from diabetes, post-chemo nerve pain, or any other painful medical condition, it can be really easy to just do nothing.
By now, everyone knows that exercise is good for you.
It helps to not only lose weight but keep your weight under control…
Using bicycles and similar low-impact equipment can be very beneficial.
It strengthens your bones…
It improves your cardiovascular health…
It has even been shown to fight depression…
And if you happen to have diabetes, you know how important exercise is in managing your glucose levels.
But what do you do when your neuropathy or some other painful condition just makes it hurt to work out?
If you struggle with neuropathy, complications from diabetes, post-chemo nerve pain, or any other painful medical condition, it can be really easy to just sit around and do nothing.
Because it just hurts too much to be active.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are exercises you can do that won’t tax your painful joints or cause you more pain than you already have.
Here are a few exercises to consider that are easy on the body and only require gentle movements:
Yoga will keep you limber and stretches the muscles in slow, easy, fluid movements. You can do it as slowly as you like. You don’t have to qualify as a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat to get the benefits of a good yoga practice. Just do the postures to the best of your ability. If it has been a while since you’ve exercised, don’t expect to be limber overnight. Give yourself time.
Yoga stretches the muscles and increases muscle strength simply by using the body’s own weight. No extra equipment, no extra weight on painful joints or swollen feet. Just what you already carry. That’s tailor made for people suffering from nerve pain.
Tai Chi is a very slow moving martial art. Each and every movement is done slowly and through a complete cycle, works every muscle group in the body. Even though it is not a strenuous exercise program, the health benefits for your bones and muscles are undeniable.
Once again, Tai Chi uses the body’s own weight to strengthen the muscles. Your sore joints and swollen tissue aren’t subjected to increased weight. And because the movements are slow and fluid, no added pain from sore muscles to complicate the symptoms of neuropathy that you already suffer from.
If your joints are so painful that walking is not a good option for exercise, try swimming. Your movements are easier in water and you will put little weight or pressure on your feet. Make sure that the water is warm, not cold. Prolonged exposure to cold water will have a detrimental effect on your circulation and make a bad situation worse.
Swimming is also a wonderful way to strengthen your cardiovascular system and do so without taxing your limited strength. If you suffer from pain in your legs and feet, the buoyancy of the water takes some of the pressure off your extremities. Just being in the water can provide some relief from the pain in your nerves.
Stretching exercises are a great way to increase muscle strength without causing your tender nerves more pain. You can even stretch while lying in bed.
This is a good stretching program that will give you a good total body stretch without ever getting on your feet. Do each of these small stretches 6 or 8 times:
- Start with your fingers and toes and gently stretch and contract them
- Next, move to your wrists and ankles and make circles with the joints
- Bend your elbows, bring your hands in to your shoulders
- Bend your knees, one at a time, toward your chest
- Bring your arms up to your ears and down, gently stretching your shoulder muscles
- Raise each leg, keep it straight, and raise it as far as you can.
None of these stretches requires a broad range of motion but will increase the circulation in your arms and legs and work your joints.
Remember, you don’t have to over exert yourself to stretch your muscles and improve your circulation. When you deal with debilitating pain, just doing those two things can lead to great improvement in your overall health condition.
Start small, take it easy and do the exercise you choose at your own pace. Be gentle with yourself. The more you do even the smallest exercise, the better you are going to feel. And that’s the best way to ensure a good outcome from any neuropathy treatment.
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*As frustrating as it may be at times, we encourage you to learn as much about your underlying condition and treatment options as possible.
Even if it’s not 100% clear on what the underlying cause, the good news is proven strategies now exist for effectively treating many forms of #pain & #neuropathy.Join us for more in depth help, #neuropathytreatmentsthatwork and learn lots more about #chronicpain & #neuropathy on our website HERE
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“But, Doctor, It Hurts When I Exercise…” is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
Much has been written about the effects of exercise and health in general. But what you may not know is there are good studies showing improvements in many health parameters with regular physical activity.
Not too long ago, the American College of Sports Medicine made the statement that adults should be very physically active seven days a week. Not unexpectedly, some in the popular media attacked this as ‘totally not doable by most adults’.
But the fact is, the more sedentary our lives become, the worse our health becomes. For example, we know that metabolism slows with as little as 90 minutes of continued sitting at your desk. As your metabolism slows, you become much more efficient at making fat than you do burning it.
And as a regular reader you know that poor metabolism can lead to the development of neuropathy, type II diabetes, or more serious illnesses.
So this means you can boost your metabolism with a workout at the gym or a stroll in the morning—and eat properly—but sitting all day without moving will negatively impact your health.
Typically, inactivity will make neuropathy and chronic pain worse. So what’s the solution?
In simple terms, it’s important to get as much physical activity as you possibly can. In times of illness, or recovering from surgery or accidents, this may simply mean getting from bed to bathroom more often. As recovery continues, it’s imperative that you push and move as much as possible.
For patients who suffer from peripheral neuropathy of the feet, using bicycles and similar low-impact equipment can be very beneficial.
But whatever you do, make sure you are doing it often enough! Even just five minutes an hour can really add up at the end of your day.
Not only will you feel better, but you will improve the chances of a better neuropathy and pain treatment outcome!
*As frustrating as it may be at times, we encourage you to learn as much about your underlying condition and treatment options as possible. Even if it’s not 100% clear on what the underlying cause, the good news is proven strategies now exist for effectively treating many forms of #pain & #neuropathy.
Join us for more in depth help, #neuropathytreatmentsthatwork and learn lots more about #fibromyalgia & #neuropathy HERE
*You can also call or text our team at 781-659-7989 Just BE SURE to leave your full name, time zone and concerns.
#neuropathydr #ndgen #neuropathytreatmentsthatwork #neuropathytreatment #neuropathy #stopchronicpain
Physical Activity and the Best Neuropathy Treatment is a post from: Neuropathy Doctors and Physical Therapists| Neuropathy | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
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If you suffer from pain, chances are good you’ve heard of fibromyalgia. Nearly 4% of people suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common pain syndromes in the world! Although women are 70% more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, the condition hits everyone. Like neuropathy, fibromyalgia can profoundly impact your quality of life, from mobility and strength to living with chronic pain. Fibromyalgia actually presents as SFN (Small Fiber Neuropathy) at least 30% of the time, so misdiagnosis may be more common than once thought.
The most common indicator of fibromyalgia is pain and sensitivity to pressure on the skin. Most sufferers describe the pain as stabbing and shooting, and it can occur all over the body. Fibromyalgia pain is often worse in the mornings, and can vary based on restlessness and even temperature/humidity.
Neuropathic symptoms very frequently accompany fibromyalgia. If you suffer from the condition, you may also be experiencing tingling in your extremities, numbness, the sensation of clothing running over your skin when none is there, and difficulty determining hot and cold in addition to the telltale pressure-sensitivity. Of course, these symptoms can themselves contribute to other problems, such as sleep disturbance, disruption of appetite, and bladder-control problems.
A single cause of fibromyalgia is a point of considerable debate, and has never been decisively established; some researchers even point to the lack of physical abnormalities (although there are definitive nervous system changes) as evidence that it’s a distinct condition. There are commonly-held theories, though, which include:
- Dopamine dysfunction- one of the most common theories explains why fibromyalgia is so frequently found in cases where someone suffers from restless leg syndrome and sleeplessness. These are conditions which result in part from insufficient dopamine in a certain part of the body.
- Stress- Fibromyalgia frequently exists in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, fatigue, and depression. This has led many researchers to conclude that there is a distinct link between stress and developing fibromyalgia.
- Genetic predisposition- Recent research has suggested fibromyalgia may have a genetic component. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
- Physical trauma- Physical trauma can act as a trigger for fibromyalgia, research suggests, since it tends to show up for the first time in many cases where a person is suffering from an acute illness or injury.
Fibromyalgia is traditionally treated with a variety of medications ranging from simple pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and even dopamine agonists. Since the root cause of fibromyalgia is not entirely understood, treatment with pharmaceuticals is usually trial and error at best. Understandably, this has led many doctors and researchers over the past decade to advocate alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments.
Some of the more modern methods for fibromyalgia treatment include exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, adjustments to diet and lifestyle, electrotherapy, and even massage therapy. Extensive research over the past few years even points to chiropractic and other manual therapies and acupuncture as potential routes for effective treatment.
Our practices promote newer methodologies for treatment, and discourages care that could be ineffective, provide temporary fixes, or even lead to additional complications.
Because everyone who has fibromyalgia experiences different symptoms, it’s very important to have a one-on-one evaluation with someone who really knows the condition. Let our clinicians help!
For some, the prospect of neuropathy and exercise may seem not only unrealistic but an almost ironic misplacement of priorities. Exercise is important for everyone, though, neuropathy and exercise can help control blood sugar and actually slow down the progression and symptoms of the condition!
Exercising regularly greatly decreases anyone’s risk of diabetic neuropathy, and has been shown to control symptoms and deterioration in sufferers by elevating overall blood flow to the limbs and controlling cardiovascular atrophy. Depending on your specific type of neuropathy, areas affected, and the extent of the damage, you will have to adjust conventional workout routines to accommodate the condition. Ask your NeuropathyDR® clinician if you have questions, and be sure to consult them before beginning any workout program. Your clinician will inspect your feet and legs for signs of potential problems, and will help you make sure your shoes are properly fitted so as to avoid neuropathy-related injuries.
- Use silica gel or air midsoles
- Use polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep your feet dry
- Avoid any workout clothes that rub against your skin in the same area.
Ann Albright of the Division of Diabetes Translation in Atlanta cautions that neuropathy patients will want to steer clear of most repetitive or weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking, or extensive weight training (although some sources advocate weight training as beneficial, in moderation). So which exercises are the most beneficial while reducing risk?
Swimming is one of the best exercises, as it is an activity adaptable to any age, fitness level, or degree of neuropathy symptoms. Swimming is also a full-body, “no-impact” workout, and so is less harmful to your joints, legs, and feet than most other forms of exercise, without sacrificing circulation (ask any lap swimmer and they’ll tell you—swimming has no problem getting your heart rate up!) As such, it is highly recommended for almost anyone.
Bicycling, rowing, and use of a stationary bicycle are other excellent, low-impact activities that can be safely integrated into a neuropathy treatment program. Some organizations have even developed exercise programs for senior citizens suffering from neuropathy, incorporating a heavy emphasis on seated exercises.
If you don’t have regular access to facilities or equipment for more extensive exercise, there are some basic exercises you can do almost anywhere that can help your neuropathy! Here are some to try:
- For your hands, touch the pad of your thumb with your index finger, running the finger down to the base of your thumb. Then, repeat the movement with the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. Do this exercise several times.
- For your legs and feet, straighten one knee and point your foot. Flex your ankle five times, then circle your foot five times in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
- To increase balance, try this exercise: from a standing position, rise up slowly on your tiptoes, and then rock backward onto your heels. Keep your knees straight, but try not to lock them.
Additional precautions are vital for neuropathy patients to observe. After every workout session, patients should remember to check their feet and any relevant extremities for blisters, irritation, or sores. These could be vulnerable to infections, which themselves could elevate risk for amputation.
It is important for neuropathy sufferers to be mindful of their heart rate and blood pressure. Especially if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy, which can greatly increase risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, be aware of your limitations when it comes to safe exercise. Don’t worry—there’s a way for everyone to exercise safely. If you have any doubts, consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician to review your workout plan.
Finally, be sure to monitor your body temperature. Neuropathy sufferers are at high risk when it comes to overheating, since some types of neuropathy can reduce the body’s ability to temperature-control. Consult your clinician if sweating seems overly profuse or the opposite, less than normal.
If you have any questions about neuropathy and exercise, contact us at NeuropathyDR or call
We can answer your questions and help put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you in person. Have a great workout!