Could Exercising Really Reduce My PsA Pain?

How many times have you been told that exercising will help reduce the pain you experience from psoriatic arthritis? I lost count of the times I have been told this by doctors, friends, family, etc… Funny thing is they were both right and wrong.

Missing a step

There wasn’t a form of exercise that didn’t increase my pain or decrease the amount of time I spent in bed, until I found a pain management plan that did more than just mask my pain. Sure there were times when I would experience a little pain relief from stretching or doing yoga, but my pain would greatly increase as soon as I finished. I couldn’t begin exercising regularly and not flaring severely afterward until I found treatments that addressed and decreased my pain and inflammation. This is something that I wish doctors would take into consideration before telling us to exercise. Telling us to exercise without a way to combat pain and inflammation is like putting the cart before the horse.

On track

I love exercising now that I am able to reduce and manage my pain and inflammation. When I first began working out it would take a day or two to recover, but that was better than the days and weeks it used to take. As time went on my recovery time continued to decrease as did the pain I experienced during and after my workouts. A year later and I am walking 4-9 miles every day without needing any time to recover. Instead of disrupting my life, exercising now enhances it. I always wake up with pain in my hips and lower back, but it either decreases or completely goes away after my morning walk. In fact I am now finding that I stiffen up and am in more pain after sitting or lying in bed. Movement brings comfort instead of pain, which would have never been possible without a good pain management plan.

Where to start

If your current pain management plan isn’t reducing your pain and inflammation, keep searching for one that does! No matter where you are at, start slow!! Don’t walk for a mile or more if walking through the grocery store exhausts you. When I began going for walks, I only walked for 5-10 minutes a few days a week. I didn’t increase the duration or length of my walks until I was able to what I was doing without experiencing pain afterwards. Find exercises that your body likes. I avoid forms that do more harm than good. For example, I know that I can’t do anything that strains the abdominal muscle that ripped last year. It’s strong enough to allow me to walk, but sit ups or any exercise that involves twisting or bending are not possible at this time. Most importantly, don’t compare your physical abilities to others, do what you can, when you can.

Walking is my favorite and least painful form of exercise. What is yours?

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