Exercising when you suffer from chronic pain

Exercising in Behcets pain
Exercising in Behcets pain

The current world has become health conscious, and this has caused an upsurge of diets and exercise routines all over the internet and among friends. “Exercising fixes everything health!!” In my opinion, that is the grossest misconception. Being a nutritionist, I am an advocate for healthy exercise routines, and I do go to the gym and practice yoga. However, I have come to learn that exercise requires a delicate balance to be helpful when you suffer from autoimmune diseases. I would like to assert that this is not a professional opinion, rather, an opinion from experience.

When I started going to the gym, I tried to keep up with other people at the gym, which made me push myself beyond my limit. As a result, I kept falling into flare-ups and having to stop exercising while under treatment to control the flare. After a year and a half of active exercise routines, I have finally found a balance. I exercise only on alternate days, which allows me one day to recuperate and gain strength to push on the next day. I do this when I am having low pain days. On high pain days I take a complete break from exercise and I concentrate recovery. I also stay away from the gym when the disease is active, because I have noticed that during periods of high inflammation exercise (which causes inflammation of the muscles) only worsens the flare.

This balance has allowed me to keep up with an active exercise regimen (although on and off, I still notice gains) and become stronger. For example, my back pain has greatly improved. Before I started going to the gym, I could not bend. But now, it’s not even a thought. The moral of the story, sieve through whatever information comes to you and modify it to work for you. Remember, our existence is different, I mean, we have a rare disease that even doctors haven’t figured out how to diagnose. So, we must do the research ourselves and be pioneers in figuring out what works.

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