25 Feb Four Simple At-Home Chronic Pain Exercises
It is important to stay as active as possible to keep our muscles strong as we age. I always tell my patients with chronic pain that exercise does not have to be a vigorous, long work out. Chronic pain exercise can be simple, yet effective. The recommendation is 150 minutes over the course of one week. This can also be broken up into various workout sessions throughout the week. Even doing 10 minutes 3 times a day can add up to big changes down the road. Remember, every little bit counts.
Try these chronic pain exercises at home using your own body weight or light hand weights:
1. Seated Knee Extensions/Leg Raises
Start seated in a chair. Your back should be flush up against the back of the chair and your feet flat on the ground. You will alternate raising one foot off the ground at a time, using your other foot on the ground to balance you. Start by raising your right foot off the ground until your shin comes parallel to your thigh. Be sure to squeeze your quadricep muscle in your thigh as you bring your foot up. Lower your right food back down to the ground and do the same with your left foot. Once you’ve lowered your left food back to the ground, you have completed 1 repetition. Repeat this repetition 10 times or as many times as you can without causing yourself pain. Repeat the repetition of 10, 3 times for a total of 30 leg raises.
Stand behind a chair and use the back to balance yourself. While placing both hands on the back of the chair, lift your right heal to the back of your thigh, squeezing your Hamstring muscle as you lift your heal up. Place your right foot back on the ground and repeat this same movement with your left foot. Once you’ve placed your left foot back on the ground, you’ve completed one repetition. Repeat these repetitions 3 times for a total of 30 repetitions.
3. Seated (or Standing) Bicep Curls
For this one you can sit or stand, making sure you can lower your arms completely. This exercise will require you using some kind of weight, whether it’s hand weights or a water bottle/canned good. With both arm hanging by your side, lift your right arm up to bring your weight towards your shoulder. Make sure and squeeze your bicep muscle in your arm as you bring the weight up. Lower your right arm back down by your side and repeat that same movement with your left arm. Once your left arm is back by your side you’ve completed 1 repetition. Perform 3 sets of these 10 repetitions for a total of 30 bicep curls with each arm.
This one can be done standing or seated. Raise both arms up until they are parallel to the ground. While holding your arms in this position, begin to rotate each arm in a circle clockwise/backwards. Perform this movement for 10-15 seconds, stop and reverse the movement to counter-clockwise/forwards for an additional 10-15 seconds. After completing both directions, rest your arms down by your side. Once you’ve recovered, repeat the above movement 2-3 times to strengthen your shoulders.
TIP: Don’t have hand weights at home? No problem. Pick up a can of your favorite canned goods or use a full 16-ounce water bottle for weight.
Amanda is a licensed and registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Pain Management Group. She received her Master’s degree in the Science of Nutrition at Auburn University and completed her dietetic internship through the Medical University of South Carolina.
Amanda is passionate about helping others, especially those in pain, understand that eating right doesn’t have to be difficult and that by making simple lifestyle and behavioral changes, they can profoundly improve their wellbeing and quality of life.