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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 6/23/2011 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I was just curious how many of you that have chronic pain have found ways to exercise?
I have been really into exercising for the last 10 years or so. I lost 30 pounds from doing cardio (cycling/spinning classes, step aerobics, treadmill walking and running) and doing weights. I even went to a weight training class for an hour two days a week. I was in the best shape of my life. Then I got pregnant and ended up spending the last couple of months on bedrest. After that, I had severe post partum depression and then my pain condition started. (Pain from my neck, through my shoulder all the way down to numbness in my pinky and ring finger). I've yet to recieve an official diagnosis. I have another neurologist appt this week. I was referred by an orthopedic doctor who thinks I have some sort of ulnar nerve injury and he thinks it's either being pinched in my elbow my wrist or both. The orthopedic doctor does not think it's thoracic outlet syndrome, but hopefully my upcoming nerve conduction test with the neurologist will find something. I also went to a naturopath that has talked to me about the benefits of prolotherapy injections. He feels that I have multiple problems with tendons, muscles and he also feels I have thoracic outlet sydnrome. Isn't it great how no one can ever agree on your diagnosis?? I'd just like to get diagnosed with something at this point!!  Sounds funny saying that, but you know what I mean.
Anyhow, I'm currently on a decent pain medication regimen that incluldes oxycodone, klonopin, and antidepressant and ambien to help me sleep. My pain is under control for the most part with the meds. I still have bad days where I have to sit around with an ice pack and/or heating pad.
I really want to exercise again. I was thinking about walking. I may never be able to lift weights again or do the higher impact working out...but I am hoping that starting a daily walking plan might help me feel better. I also have an on demand cable station that has all sorts of gentle cardio workouts that I could do for the days I am home with my daughter (she isn't keen on stroller rides anymore and she walks very slowly since she is only 2)
Anyhow, just wanted to hear back from those of you that have tried to incorporate exercise, if it helped, if it made it worse...etc.
I know losing the weight I've gained over the last couple of years would probably help with the pain. Then the endorphins I'm sure would also help. I'm just scared though. I'm scared to cause more pain. But my pain is in my arm, not my I should be able to start a walking program at the very least. Right? I sure hope so. Not exercising after years of exercising really sucks. Especially when I lost so much weight and it was such a great stress reducer.... 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 3557
   Posted 6/23/2011 12:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Jessup...

I hope you are able to keep pressing and seeing Dr.s to get a true sounds like it's going to either be the ulnar nerve issue or could be a cervical disc issue with symptoms radiating to the arms/hands/fingers...

I am a huge proponent of incorporating exercise that is ok'd by our Dr.s into each day...

I do daily walking with my dog for 30-45 minutes each morning around 6am...I like to go before it gets too hot, or other dogs being out so my dog doesn't pull me on the leash when he gets excited..LOL...he is a 75 pound lab...and he is pretty well trained...but he can get rowdy when he sees a few certain dogs in the neighborhood:)...

And since I have had 3 cervical fusions...I am ok'd by my Neurosurgeon to lift very light weights of 3..and no more than 5 I learned the exact proper way to do this keeping the rest of my body and spine in a stable position.

I have started to have some lower back I am really trying to keep my core strengthened....this is very important to help the lower back and spine...Since I can't do regular sit ups anymore....I sit on a large exercise ball and then do side to side and 'sit ups' on this....making sure I hit all the muscles in the abdomen...

So...I do the walking daily...and then light weights 3 times a week...

I also have moved to eating all Organic over the last year....which along with the walking helped me lose the 30 pounds I gained a few years ago after my last surgery and divorce.....( I have never smoked)....and as well use Ambien which has helped tremendously with my sleep and feeling energy during the I agree...

My PM is definitely one of those that believes in taking care of our whole body in regards to pain management...He always stresses for us to do everything we can as patients, as well as what he can add as a Dr. with medicine, injections, acupuncture...etc...

I also do aqua therapy from time to time...and this is wonderful for people with lower back issues as some do on well as using a recumbent bike...or doing upper body exercises..for people with knee issues...

It's really best to talk with one's main Dr. and make sure they are cleared to do things...

Great thread topic as I think not only with keeping the rest of our body as healthy as possible, it helps us stay at a good weight, and releases endorphins to keep both our energy up as well as reduces stress...
SB and "the pup who snores loudly" 
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha")) 
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005 
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 6/23/2011 3:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Snowbunny for the information. I have an appt tomorrow with a neurologist and probably depending on the outcome of that I will know a little more. After that I follow up with the orthopedic doctor. And I also have an upcoming appt with a naturopath for some possible prolotherapy injections. That's why I always wonder who to ask about exercise. I see so many doctors...which one do I ask? It's enough to make my head spin.

I want to do everything I can to eliminate pain naturally..but sometimes that only goes so far. The pain med thing is a double whammy. Sometimes I have a good day on them and they bring my pain levels way down and I actually think I would like to take a walk. Other days they don't work as well and all I can do is lay on the couch. And then sometimes they work really good but then I get tired and just want to sleep. I never know what I'm gonna get each day.

I just get frustrated because if I walk for a couple of days then the pain acts up again..I'm back down for a couple of days. It's just so hard to keep up with regular exercise when I'm on such a roller coaster!! and I so badly want to get back in shape. I just know it would help.

I guess I'll ask each doctor I see. As many opinions as I can get and then just give it a try and see how I feel. I guess our bodies are the best indicators of what we can and cannot do.

And off topic..I'm really sick of the mentality of a lot of doctors that seem to go with the "no pain, no gain" theory. I've been pushed through physical therapy that made my condition worse..accupuncture that made it worse, etc. Lots of doctors say that the pain is your body "healing". It sure doesn't feel that way when you are in excruciating pain for days on end just because of a PT appt.

It's just so frustrating in general.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 6/23/2011 5:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I have to agree with Snowbunny, that exercise is very important. Aqua Therapy pretty much saved me after my first fusion. The fact that you can completely control the resistance based on your comfort level is absolutely priceless when it comes to rehabbing.

All depending on the type of injury is what type of exercises you will do. Nerve injuries like ulnar nerve entrapment require more immobilization and gentle range of motion, stopping at any point the nerve gets irritated. Muscle injuries you tend to need to work thru and tough it out.

Hopefully the NS and OS can send you in the right direction. The biggest thing is getting a dx that everyone can agree on.

For now all I can do is walk, some days it's 100 yards, somedays I can make 2 miles. My goal is just to walk every day. I can also use Therabands for gentle resistance. Therabandacademy gives exercise programs for specific dx's, maybe you can check it out and review these with your dr. I use them for my school students and they seem to like the programs.

In any case good luck at you appointment, keep us posted.
DX: CRPS/RSD full body, Fibro, CP, DDD, DJD, OSA, Syringomyelia, Arachnoiditis, failed fusion non union with hardware issues. Fusions C5-6, L5-S1. SCS trial successful awaiting placement after fusion revison 6/11.
MEDS:Fentanyl Patch 25 & 12.5 mcg, Fentora 100mcg, Oxyfast 10mg, Morphine Sulfate 15mg, AtacandHCT32/12.5mg, Clonidine, Zofran.
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