Often chronic pain makes it difficult for patients to keep active. This, along with medications such as opioids, can decrease the levels of the body’s natural pain killers called endorphins.

Your doctor may recommend that you start a low impact aerobic exercise program as part of your management tools. Exercises may include aquatic therapy, elliptical machine, and/or recumbent bicycling as tolerated, to improve cardiovascular function, core strength and flexibility.

Aerobic exercises improve blood flow to, and bring nutrients to, painful structure. This can aid in healing, increase mobility, and decrease stiffness in painful joints and, in the back.

Low impact exercises are a good choice of aerobic activity that will not jar the spine or aggravate the joints.

When performing an aerobic exercise you should exercise enough to increase your heart rate to the target zone, which is often 20% higher than the baseline heart rate, for at least 20-30 minutes. Target zone heart rates can vary widely from one person to another. It is best to start slow and work your way up to your target zone over a few weeks.

Consult with your doctor to determine the appropriate level of exercise for you.

Examples of Low Impact Exercises Include: Power Walking, Stationary Bicycling, Elliptical or Step Machines, Water Therapy.

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