Exercise, a natural pain reliever, can decrease pain, fatigue, stiffness & need for drugs


What you can do

“Moving is the best medicine”


For headache and neck and shoulder pain

As reported in the leading headache journal, Cephalalgia, office workers with headache, neck and shoulder pain took part in an education and relaxation program in an Italian study over eight months. They kept diaries and did posture and relaxation exercises every two to three hours. Compared to a control group, headache and neck and shoulder pain decreased by more than 40% and use of analgesic drugs was cut in half.


For Arthritis Pain

Physical activity is actually a natural pain reliever.
study published in Arthritis Care and Research concluded that regular exercise is effective in significantly improving arthritis pain.
The in-depth study looked at the effectiveness of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program – formerly known as the People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) program – to reduce pain and stiffness by keeping joints flexible and muscles strong.
Participants reported a decrease in pain and fatigue, an increase in upper and lower extremity function, and an increase in strength after participating in the basic 8-week exercise program. Also, participants who continued the exercise program independently, beyond 8 weeks, sustained improvement in reduced stiffness.
“The study showed that the exercise program is suitable for every fitness level, even inactive older individuals,” said author of the study Leigh Callahan, PhD, Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Many people believe the myth that exercise exacerbates their symptoms. The truth revealed in the study is that symptoms improved with exercise.”
Exercising for joint health is different than exercising for heart health. People living with arthritis don’t have to sweat to achieve success. The basic 8-week Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program consists of low-impact routines with gentle range-of-motion movements that can be done while sitting or standing.
“Even minor lifestyle changes like taking a 10-minute walk 3 times a day can reduce the impact of arthritis on a person’s daily activities and help to prevent developing more painful arthritis,” explains Patience White, MD, chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. “Physical activity can actually reduce pain naturally and decrease dependence on pain medications.”
The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is offered at basic and advanced levels and is available throughout the country in many convenient community-based settings. A detailed listing of classes in local areas can be found on the Arthritis Foundation’s Web site at http://www.arthritis.org.

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