According to The Physics Classroom, Newton’s first law of motion is stated as:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion
Sounds about right, right?
Except when you are dealing with Chronic Pain…. Then what?
So how about Chronic Pain’s first law of motion is stated as:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion – wait! is there even motion with chronic pain?
Let’s face it – when every joint in your body is screaming, who wants to even get out of bed, let alone take a walk, ride a bike or any other physical activity that would aggravate your pain…
But the medical field recommends exercise – to keep the joints and muscles moving – to keep working through the stiffness and pain so the stiffness eventually is alleviated and hopefully the pain in lessened…
Exercise improves your mood, gets you away from those walls that surround you, reduces your need for pain meds, and helps you sleep better.
It’s a Catch-22 dealing with chronic pain or a chronic illness isn’t it…rest – and hurt…move – and hurt…hmmm…so what do you do?
Here are some practical ideas for Non-Strenuous Work-outs to do when you are dealing with chronic pain:
- Walking – According to Prevention, “walking is an excellent form of light aerobic exercise, which brings oxygen and nutrition to your muscles to keep them healthy, helps rebuild stamina, boosts energy, and reduces stiffness and pain.” Take short walks – even if it’s 10 minutes a day, build up to longer walks. Keep to a firm surface, wear comfortable shoes, take water along, and enjoy the scenery!
- Swimming and Water Aerobics in a heated pool (warm water relaxes muscles, and the buoyancy of the water helps with movement). Join a local community pool or check out local schools that may offer open swim times at low cost – physical therapy pools are also often available for open swim when classes aren’t taking place.
- Stretching – always do some soft stretching after you exercise so you don’t pull cold muscles – but even before getting out of bed in the morning try some gentle stretches to loosen up stiff arms, shoulders, neck, and legs. Do what you can without pain! Stretch throughout the day as you sit – reaching for the remote – walking down the hall – doing range of motion keeps your joints from becoming stiff.
- Everyday Activities – Do what you can when you can. Gardening. Washing the dishes. Playing with the dog. Shopping. – You’d be surprised not only the muscles you use physically but also the mental muscles that are used.
So these are a few practical ways to coping with our physical chronic pain – but how do we cope with what this pain does to our spiritual walk?
- We walk – the path set before us. We start with small steps and then build to bigger, bolder steps. But we keep our eyes on Jesus along the way. He is our Breath of Life – He is our Energy – He is our Strength. Psalm 73:26 tells us,“My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” And let’s be honest here, some days all we can do is just hold on to that knowledge.
- We swim – in the refreshing and healing waters of His Word – As we spend time with God and allow His Word to take root in our hearts we become stronger, and begin building our spiritual muscles to continue our walk. What better time to spend with our Maker than when we are flat on our back, unable to move because of our pain? He’s right there with us! Isaiah 43:2 reminds us, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”
- We stretch – our spiritual muscles – we step out of our comfort zone, asking God to use us where we are. Dealing with chronic pain or a chronic illness doesn’t have to stop us from being used by Him. He just uses us in a different way and in a different place. Eph. 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
- We do what we can when we can – we make ourselves available – we are obedient to His call, wherever, whenever. Philippians 1:6 gives us this beautiful reminder, “For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Remember, no medical diagnosis defines us – our Almighty Creator does.
Our mind tends to play that game of “you can’t do it” over and over and we need to stop listening – when we are able, we need to get up and get moving – physically…spiritually…
Then we rest.
And yes, then we will rest well.
Living With Eyz2God,