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chronic pain and exercise
I have had chronic pain for 15 years...I have had a fusion of C3- C7 inclusive and now my lumbar spine is causing pain, although the drs 'think' it is non-surgical; meaning they cant do any surgery to fix it. Considering i have had 2 surgeries on my C-spine and continue to have severe daily pain, i am not sure that not offering surgery on my lumbar spine is a bad thing! Anyway, my question is about exercise and chronic pain; does anyone have any reccomendations? I am so tired of being a couch potato, but there are days when walking to the bathroom is a major undertaking. Over the course of the 15 years, i have had significant weight gain due to inactivity and meds, and i am sick of it and sick of myself! i have to try to do something to change. I cant work, am on a disability, and am a single mum- so money is also a big issue...anyone out there with similar issues/ any suggestions? thanks, and hope you all have a day where your pain is under control (if you're like me, hoping for a pain-free day is asking for the impossible)
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1683709 tn?1370713201
Dear mumstar,
I also live in chronic pain, I had my first back surgery 16 years ago,
they fused s1,L5,L4 and added a rod to stabilize my spine. I didn't really want to have the surgery but the pain had made me feel suicidal.  

So I figured what the heck?  It was a really hard time since I had a 3,5, and 10 year old at home.  I had a few years of relief, after the recovery, but still needed to use nsaids for pain. I could only take the anti-inflamatory drugs for a few years, because they ended up ruining the lining of my stomach.
I tried just living on tylenol and ended up severely depressed from living in chronic pain.  So now I go to a pain clinic.

I've had the same problem with weight gain, I started off at 135lbs and now I am 200lbs, this definitely isn't good for my back or my self esteem.
Between the anti-depressants, the inactivity because of pain, and eating chocolate and cookies for comfort I've become a couch potato too.
I would love to walk my dog, but I am in so much pain, I have to rely on my family to look after her.  I think I understand your problem, chronic pain ***** the life out of you.

I've found the least painful exercise is swimming, and I do that when I can.
I've also found gentle yoga classes to be very helpful for building strength and treating depression.
This year I tried some physio, and I did my exercises on a pilates machine.
Although this didn't hurt my back, the therapist over did it with me and I couldn't walk for a week?
If you can't get out of the house, maybe try a stationary bike or a treadmill?  They are easy to find second hand.

Since New Years is around the corner, I am going to try and eat less sweets and sign up for a yoga class once a week.  I think that will be a good start, and hopefully it will help my pain too.

Good luck, let me know how you are doing, maybe we could try and loose weight together??
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1157044 tn?1318303724
Good for you trying to get into an exercise regimen.  I understand this is hard living with chronic pain and finding the best way to do it for you.
I exercise advidly and have for years.  I have been athletic for years and the last 6 with chronic pain.
I have MS and MS nerve pain I find my exercise helps.

Sueduva gave you some excellent thoughts.  
If you can get a stationary bike or treadmill second hand it will be safe, convenient, less intimidating way to start.

Remember, especially to start with, any time extra on your feet is a form of exercise.  If you are not on your feet much now get on them as much as you can and increase that slowly.

With my MS I have had to start down to these basics several times.  It may sound kind of lame but exercise is exercise and build up from there.

There are "gentle" exercises that you can do to help you build muscle.  Example: lifting one leg behind you while hanging onto a your kitchen counter.  I do not know what your other physical limitations are do to the condition which causes your pain.  But my point is there are ways to build muscle that you can take very slow and at your pace.  With more muscle you will find you can handle the areobic activity better too.
I am sure you have heard that muscle burns more calories than fat so that is an extra plus.  Why not burn more calories at rest - right?

Mumstar I am sorry to hear you had the experience you did with pilates or I should say with your therapist with pilates.

Again - good for you for your strong desire to begin an exercise regimen!

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2032177 tn?1329413941
I am so sorry to hear you are suffering.  I have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 2, and I'm 43. I also have fibromyalgia, so chronic pain is a way of life for me.  What has helped me the most:  water aerobics and gentle Yoga.  I know that the Arthritis Foundation here in the US offers a variety of classes, and hopefully you can find some nearby.  Gentle yoga is not stressful on your body at all. And when you do water aerobics, it takes all the weight off of you.  You can move so freely, and the water actually creates a little bit of resistance when you move your arms or legs.  It's so relaxing!  The other thing I do is work out with light weights - 5 and 10 pounds.  Start off with the lowest weights you can find.  When you gently build up your muscle tone, it can help with chronic pain.  Of course always ask your doctor before starting any kind of exercise.  I hope you are feeling much better soon!
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