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Chronic Pain and Exercise: The Direct Relationship

As a pain provider, one of the most common questions I get is if patients should/could/can exercise when pain is present. The answer would be YES! Exercise CAN be implemented as part of a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to assist patients with their pain. 
The caveat to the YES is before starting any exercise program, make sure you talk to a medically trained professional to be evaluated to prevent further injury or harm and to ensure your safety. 
Exercise therapy is the most common conservative treatment intervention used for the treatment of chronic pain conditions such as chronic low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, intermittent claudication, dysmenorrhoea, mechanical neck disorder, spinal cord injury, postpolio syndrome, and patellofemoral pain.
-Compared to usual care, exercise therapy has been shown to be effective in improving pain intensity, disability, physical, mental, and psychological function, and overall quality of life.
-Various forms of exercise has been shown to assist with pain management such as aerobic, strength training, flexibility, core or balance training programs including yoga, pilates, and tai chi.
Not really…
-Is there a form of exercise that is better than the other to assist with pain? According to various studies, no specific exercise has been proven to be more effective than the other.
At NovaSpine Pain Institute, we believe that a comprehensive, multifaceted approach that is tailored to the needs of our patients is the most effective plan of care. We partner with various physical therapy institutions that provides the best medically guided instructions when it comes to physical rehabilitation and exercise. In conjunction with physical rehabilitation, a customized pharmacologic and interventional procedures (if applicable) is implemented to assist in the fast and efficient recovery of our valued patients. 
Reference list:
Coulombe, B. J., Games, K. E., Neil, E. R., & Eberman, L. E. (2017). Core stability exercise versus general exercise for chronic low back pain. Journal of Athletic Training, 52(1), 71-72. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-51.11.16.
Geneen, L. J., Moore, R. A., Clarke, C., Martin, D., Colvin, L. A., & Smith, B. H. (2017). Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an overview of cochrane review.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Searle, A., Spink, M., Ho, A., & Chuter., V. (2015). Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Rehabilitation, 29(12), 1155-1167.
Suh, J. H., Kim, H., Jung, G. P., Ko, J. Y., & Ryu, J. S. (2019). The effect of lumbar stabilization and walking exercise on chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Medicine, 98(26), p e16173. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016173
van Middelkoop, M., Rubinstein, S. M., Verhagen, A. P., Ostelo, R. W., Koes, B. W., & van Tulder, M. W. (2010). Exercise therapy for chronic nonspecific low-back pain. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 24(2), 193-204.
Kristian Oarde, DNP, FNP-C Kristian Oarde is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner who provides comprehensive pain management to both acute and chronic pain patients. Kristian started as a Registered Nurse in 2008 with backgrounds in Medical-Surgical, Oncology, Leadership, and spent most of his career in the Emergency Department. He received his training and degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice from The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. With over a decade of healthcare experience, Kristian utilizes a holistic approach to assess, treat, and evaluate the patient and the community he serves. He especially enjoys building relationships and working with individuals from all walks of life to help them as they establish and maintain their healthcare needs and goals. Kristian is currently seeing patients at our Sun City and Sun City West locations.

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