When dealing with chronic pain, it might be tempting to stop physical activity, especially when exercise increases the pain. But on the scale of best to worst ideas, stopping physical activity altogether is somewhere just below communism. As in, not excellent.
Being physically active contributes to both physical and psychological well-being. Both of these are important for managing and overcoming chronic pain. So instead of stopping altogether, the goal is to find a level of physical activity you can tolerate
Reintroduce exercise at a level you feel comfortable doing without fear. Where you sit in this fear meter depends on your psychological makeup. Some of us are naturally more anxious and fearful and need a gentle start. While others are more like Fonzie, aaayyy.
The same rule goes for pain. As we established in the previous blog, chronic pain rarely equates to physical damage. Find the level of pain you can tolerate during exercise without lighting up your nervous system like Nakatomi Plaza.
For most people staying below 5 out of 10 is a good starting point. But some have to go as low as 1, whereas Fonzie could go higher. As with fear, there’s no hard and fast rule, as it really depends on you.