Moving Through Chronic Pain: How Exercise Can Heal What Hurts
By Julie Peterson
When our body keeps hurting, especially if it’s been that way for a long time, it’s natural to want to snuggle into pillows with a good movie and move as little as possible. And for many years, that’s the kind of rest that doctors recommended for the 20 percent of American adults suffering from chronic pain. But with a plethora of studies showing that exercise can reduce pain severity, enable better physical functioning and boost morale with virtually no adverse side effects, that advice is fast changing. “Exercise helps to release endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller chemicals,” explains Rumki Banerjee, M.D., medical director of Apex MD, in Glen Allen, Virginia.