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Exercising with Chronic Pain

Getting to the gym for a workout can sometimes be a battle in itself. Let’s face it... a daily workout can be a challenge, for so many reasons, but sometimes it can even be a little painful - or a lot painful!

So, what do you do if you’re already dealing with body pain every single day? Should you skip your workout altogether and just rest? Or is it better to move your body even when you're dealing with chronic pain?

This is a condition defined as pain lasting beyond normal tissue healing time - generally around 12 weeks.

Conditions of chronic pain could be anything from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, or neck and spinal cord injuries - just to name a few.

But, did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians and 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain?

Here are two basic ways you can still move and nourish your body for the sake of your health when you’re dealing with chronic pain.

Exercise: Just what the doctor ordered!

In the past, medical professionals would recommend rest and inactivity as part of the treatment for many of these conditions. But, newer research suggests that physical activity may be just what the doctor ordered.

One study concluded that exercise helped to reduce pain severity, as well as improve overall physical function and mental health in those with chronic pain.

“Natural painkillers - endorphins, are produced by our body with exercise. After a bout of exercise, pain tolerance increases (for up to an hour, depending on the exercise), says Dr. Darren Leong, senior physician at the Singapore Sports Institute & Singapore Sports Council.

Leong also maintains that exercise helps to reduce flare-ups of these conditions as well as reduces anxiety and depression - a condition commonly related to chronic pain.

When to exercise and when to stop

While there are many benefits to regular exercise, those with chronic pain are still advised to listen to their body.

Dr. Nathan Johnson, Associate Professor of Exercise & Sports Science at the University of Sydney says, “If you’re feeling joint or musculoskeletal pain or anything associated with chest pain, then that’s an indication to stop exercising immediately.”

Nutrition: Put out the flames of inflammation through diet

The Latin word ‘inflammare’ means to ‘set on fire', and most of us are familiar with that fiery feeling when we experience acute inflammation - like when you fall and scrape your knee.

The immune system is on duty and white blood cells are called into action. You go through a wide range of symptoms, including pain (stinging or throbbing), heat, redness, and swelling.

The onset is usually fast too, within minutes or hours, and the signs are obvious - like a lump or cut at the site of the injury. But, as your body heals, the inflammation subsides, and the symptoms (pain, redness, and/or swelling) tend to disappear.

Inflammation is not always a bad thing either! It’s actually quite necessary to heal an injury or fight off an invading pathogen.

However, when we experience another kind of inflammation known as chronic or systemic inflammation - this type can persist and linger in your body for much longer periods of time.

In fact, if left unchecked, chronic inflammation can be like a fire out of control!

“Those with chronic inflammation often suffer from pain, fatigue, anxiety and mood disorders.”

While chronic inflammation sounds rather ominous, there’s one thing all experts seem to agree on… an anti-inflammatory diet can help to significantly decrease symptoms of chronic pain.

That’s why we’re sharing a delicious Herbed Salmon recipe as it’s packed with natural inflammation-fighting ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, lemon, and rosemary. Plus, it tastes delicious and is so simple to prepare. Go fish!


Anti-inflammatory Herbed Salmon


1 salmon filet

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon sliced, plus 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (from the same lemon)

3 cloves garlic minced

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

½ tsp Himalayan pink salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Avocado oil for coating pan (~ 1 Tbsp)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place parchment paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet and lightly coat or brush with oil. Place the salmon on the baking sheet.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and 1 Tb rosemary.

Pour the sauce over the salmon and place slices of fresh lemon on top.

Seal the parchment or foil around the salmon until it’s completely covered.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp rosemary before serving and enjoy!

Making it EASY for you to feel ALIVE

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