Why Exercise Is So Important in Managing Joint Pain

Your body was made to move. Of course, there are times when movement is detrimental. Pain is your body’s defense mechanism, letting you know when something’s wrong and making you stop and attend to an injury. But that should only be a temporary state. Your body functions best when it’s allowed to do what it was designed to do — move. 

In fact, in many cases, movement can actually accelerate healing and reduce pain. And this is especially true when it comes to joint pain. Our team of pain management specialists here at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute helps patients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area overcome their joint pain with targeted exercise that gets them moving more freely again. Here’s why exercise is so important as you battle painful joints.

Strengthens the muscles that surround your joints

In and of themselves, joints possess no strength at all; they rely on your muscles to support their movement and your weight. Strong muscles help you maintain balance and also keep your bones aligned so your joints work smoothly. If you’ve suffered a sports injury or have osteoarthritis, supervised exercise can fortify your musculoskeletal structure so your joints can heal.

Keeps your bones healthy

If you lead a sedentary life, whether by choice or because your joints hurt, you’re actually exacerbating your problem. Inactivity leads to bone loss. Bones are living tissue, and they need to be fed regularly to stay strong and regenerate. In addition to a healthy diet, exercise feeds you bones, stimulating them and making them more dense. 

Helps you maintain a healthy weight

The more you weigh, the more stress you put on your joints. This can be harmful under normal circumstances, but if your joints are already stiff and painful, the extra pounds make it much worse. In fact, studies show that for every pound of weight you lose, you relieve four pounds of pressure from your knee joints.

Produces endorphins

When you exercise, your body releases a flood of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones. These hormones affect the opiate receptors in your brain, so they not only boost pleasure, they also reduce pain. That’s how the term “runner’s high” got its name, because strenuous activity can mimic the euphoria of some drugs.

Improves your sleep quality 

Exercise helps you sleep better. In fact, a good workout can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. This is good for so many reasons, not the least of which is relieving your joint pain. When you don’t sleep well, your somatosensory cortex becomes hyperactive, which weakens your brain’s painkilling response. But when you get a solid night’s rest, your brain deals with pain more efficiently.

As a bonus, your daytime energy increases when you’ve had a good night’s sleep, so you’re more motivated and better able to engage in a regular exercise routine.

What kind of exercise is best for joint pain?

When you have joint pain, we urge you to come see us before embarking on a new exercise program. No two joint injuries or conditions are the same, and while the right exercise can speed up your recovery and reduce your pain, the wrong exercise can do the opposite.

Whether you have a chronic problem, like arthritis, or an acute injury, physical therapy is the best thing you can do. Our highly trained team assesses your condition and limitations and designs strengthening exercises that restore your joint’s function, abate your pain, and prevent further injury or progressive joint damage.

To find out more about how exercise can reduce your reliance on medications and decrease your pain naturally, call us at 817-435-1642 to set up a consultation with one of our pain management specialists, or send us a message online

You Might Also Enjoy...

Are You a Candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator?

When all the at-home tricks fail, and even medicine and surgery can’t stop your pain, you may need to override your nerves and stop the pain at its source. Find out if spinal cord stimulation can turn off your pain.

The Role Weight Plays in Your Disc Health

The list of complications from being overweight runs long, with diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension at the top. What you may not know is that every extra pound you carry also risks hurting your discs — here’s how.

When to Seek Medical Care for Neck Pain

There’s a reason people use the phrase “a pain in the neck” so often — it’s the perfect way to describe things that annoy you and cause discomfort and distress. But it’s more than a cliché. Find out when that crick in your neck needs medical care.

Understanding Spinal Stenosis

Your body is slowly shrinking. As you age, your muscles, heart, brain, and sex organs decrease in size with no consequence. But when your spine narrows, it really hurts. Here’s what you need to know about spinal stenosis.

Immediate Help for Your Whiplash Injury

Car crashes are the most common cause of whiplash, but not the only one. Anything that jerks your head back-and-forth can give you the same pain in the neck, like falling, being shaken, or colliding in sports. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.