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Exercising the Right Way with Joint Pain

By Donna Stark

My daughter has had nine knee surgeries. She knows what joint pain feels like. She also knows how hard it is to stay fit while the body is hurting beyond measure. I know it’s difficult because I saw her go through it. Facing that uphill battle every day, when all she wanted to do was to work out … or simply just move some days … and all that her body wanted to do was resist and scream out in pain. Do you find yourself in this position? Is your body telling you “No!” while your mind is telling you the exact opposite? It’s certainly a true battle of wills, but what you need to remember is that exercise is critical for your body to get better. Not taking care of yourself can lead to more issues down the road and could even possibly make your existing pain much worse.

Exercising with Joint Pain

It’s important to keep moving every day, but it’s more important to do so correctly. If you are experiencing chronic joint pain, or joint pain caused by an injury, consider a few of these tips before you start your next workout.

  • Stretch - Typically, the body doesn’t like to be surprised, so warm it up properly and give it enough time so it can acclimate to the workout that is soon coming its way. In addition to increasing the body’s range of motion and flexibility, stretching also helps to build strength and reduce the risk of more injury. Along with stretching, applying heat to your joints before a workout may help as well to stave off pain.
  • Low-impact exercises - Pushing yourself too hard could ultimately lead to pain, or worse, re-injury. It’s important to listen to your body and understand your limitations, even if they don’t match up with your goals. Low-impact workouts, such as swimming and walking, put far less strain on your joints and are also easy on joint pain.
  • Easy does it - Remember to go slowly when working out. Allowing your body to exercise at a healthy pace will help you avoid any unnecessary stress or strain on your joints. But no matter what, don’t forget to listen to what your body is saying. And if it’s screaming, take a break or stop altogether.
  • Stretch again - When you’re tired and hungry, it’s easy to end your workout and just go home, but if you don’t give your body the proper cool down, it could lead to bigger problems down the road. So stretch again and ice any joints that may be swollen.

Conquering that Uphill Battle

Don’t be intimidated by that uphill battle you are facing. Sure, your pain may add some extra time to you reaching your goals, but it’s better to reach them in a healthy state than to not reach them at all. So listen to your body, but don’t give up! There’s a whole lot of moving that needs to be done still.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lakewood, Colo.

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