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Thread: Does Exercise Help with Pain? Pros/Cons?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    15

    Does Exercise Help with Pain? Pros/Cons?

    I am trying to develop strategies for holding off on any further back surgery and to do that; I need to try to manage my pain. I am taking various forms of pain meds. They are very helpful but because I want to and have to limit what I take, they are not enough. I have learned a lot from the people who post on this forum [I am very grateful] and I would really welcome any input regarding this question. I searched this Forum but really saw nothing that precisely addressed this specific topic.

    When I was considering whether or not I should have revision surgery [for pain and not because my spine was unstable], I came across the notion that exercise might be a useful tool to help with pain originating from my lower spine. The problem, of course, is that I don’t have a great spine. I had 13 vertebrae fused more than 40 years ago and have some adjacent segment degeneration. One of the problems with choosing exercise as a way of trying to control pain is I have to be careful of WHAT exercise I do and HOW I do that exercise. This would be another useful topic but that should be another thread.

    In a sentence, I believe that exercise HAS helped me feel better. This is what I have come to believe about exercise/pain control in my situation. (1) I feel better when I have exercised correctly and have exercised enough. When I have exercised incorrectly I have felt worse but I always manage to go back to basic/safe exercises and then I feel better. (2)I have needed the assistance of a personal trainer. He is not a physical therapist BUT he understands what has happened to my spine and he has a great eye for balance and posture. I also think he is effective for me in this situation because he believes in focusing on some of the small muscle groups in the body. I would never have thought this type of exercise could have any benefit until I tried it. I have used his services for at least 9 months now. It takes a LONG time to change well established habits on how you hold your body. (3) I also need to use some of the Nautilus exercise equipment at my gym to work some of my larger muscle groups. I had to have someone show me how to properly use this equipment before I could do it without causing more pain. I cannot use all the equipment. (4)Hiking always feels good.

    Most of the exercise I do [except hiking or gardening] I don’t particularly like. This makes it hard to keep doing them but since I know I feel better when I consistently exercise, I really try to keep it going. When I first started out [without help], I felt more pain [not less pain] because I didn’t know what to do. That could have been a good excuse to quit but I was really motivated to keep trying.

    The other thing that slowed me down from believing that exercise could really help was that the scientific literature is [to say the least] “mixed” on this topic. This is probably because it is VERY difficult to design, fund and execute a study that is definitive. Some reasons for this are: (1) people don’t want to exercise, (2) a lot of the data is “self-reported”, (3) no one wants to fund these studies and (4) pain levels are very subjective and impossible to really standardize. I came to appreciate that even though the literature was mixed on this topic, that was not enough to dismiss the use of exercise to help my situation.

    I would welcome any information on why or why not people in this forum choose to exercise
    . Terry
    1973 Diagnosed with scoliosis [left thoracic curve 75* and right lumbar curve of 72*]
    Spinal fusion surgery with Harrington Rod instrumentation
    Left thoracic curve corrected to 55* and right lumbar curve corrected to 45*
    2013 Significant pain down right, upper leg
    2015 MRI of lumbar spine detects "multilevel degenerative disc disease with disc bulges and facet hypertrophy" AND
    the presence of a "possible nerve sheath tumor" at L2-L3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    East Central FL
    Posts
    192

    Surprised no one has answered as to if exercise helps with pain

    Came across this as am searching to find ways to alleviate constant pain in son's back. Varying levels of exercise & stretching have had varying degrees of pain management for him, but pain is off the charts lately. Have him getting with a physical therapist tmrw, to work on any unstable areas of the back.
    Mom of 14yo son diagnosed Oct 2011
    Surgery 1/3/12 w Dr. Geof Cronen,
    Tampa General Hospital T3 to L1
    Jacob's pre surg curves: T58 & L31 12/28/11
    photos & xrays in "First-Time Surgery" thread "Before & After"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    8,903
    Quote Originally Posted by LSKOCH5 View Post
    Came across this as am searching to find ways to alleviate constant pain in son's back. Varying levels of exercise & stretching have had varying degrees of pain management for him, but pain is off the charts lately. Have him getting with a physical therapist tmrw, to work on any unstable areas of the back.
    Hi. Welcome back though I am sorry it is under these circumstances. I remember you son's radiographs as being one of the best corrections I had seen. I am so sorry he is having pain.

    I think you need to get that worked up by Cronen. It could be something that is not addressable by PT. Is the pain diffuse or pinpoint? I think you need to rule out a late presentation of an infection and rod breakage.

    I think you will find the cause and then be able to address it.

    Good luck.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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