Exercise can help with joint pain and improve movement and overall health, but when someone experiences joint pain, their general response is to stop doing that particular activity. If you experience joint pain, you may be afraid of making the pain feel worse or creating a future injury. This can lead to a cycle referred to as fear avoidance. As you avoid a particular activity or movement, you experience increased weakness, which can lead to even more pain. The end result is negative: a vicious cycle of debility/disability.
To break this pain cycle, it’s important to continue to move the joint in a way that is safe and pain free. The body was made to move! Moving the joints through pain free ranges is a safe way to help return that joint to full movement. As movement is regained in the joint, you can add in strengthening to the range of motion to build strength and endurance. This leads to less pain, increased strength, a more active lifestyle and improves overall well-being!
It’s important to make sure you exercise correctly, ensure appropriate joint alignment and not push through pain, especially if there is an injury history.
Pain Free Range of Motion
Rather than getting caught in the cycle, keep moving forward and return to a more active and enjoyable way of life. Think of your new experience with exercise like this:
Always check in with your primary care provider before beginning a new exercise program. If you experience pain or don’t feel comfortable with your movement, speak to your primary care provider or physical therapist. They may recommend specific active range of motion exercises and gentle stretching to start.
If you have any questions regarding movement, please leave them in the comment section below.
Bryon Renwand, PT, DPT, CSCS, has been working with ProMedica Total Rehab since 2012, and is currently seeing patients at Total Rehab of Bedford, Mich. Bryon received his Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Toledo, where he also received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy.