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The Role of Exercise and Types of Exercise in the Rehabilitation of Chronic Pain: Specific or Nonspecific Benefits

Abstract

Chronic pain is one of the most common complaints seen in general practitioners’ offices, and it contributes to social, emotional, physical, and economical losses. The management of this problem poses challenges for health care providers when the current treatment of choice for chronic pain is pharmacological management, which may not be a sufficient and/or holistic approach to the management of chronic pain. Our goal is to increase awareness of the significance of physical activity, as well as examine additional cost-effective, integrated approaches to help manage the complex and debilitating effects of this condition. This article summarizes the types of exercise in the rehabilitation of chronic pain patients and provides practical recommendations for the clinician based on empirical and clinical experience. This safe, cost-free, nonpharmacologic way of managing pain has been found to reduce anxiety and depression, improve physical capacity, increase functioning and independence, and reduce morbidity and mortality.

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Correspondence to Judith Scheman.

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Sullivan, A.B., Scheman, J., Venesy, D. et al. The Role of Exercise and Types of Exercise in the Rehabilitation of Chronic Pain: Specific or Nonspecific Benefits. Curr Pain Headache Rep 16, 153–161 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-012-0245-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-012-0245-3

Keywords

  • Adjunctive therapy
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Stretching
  • Flexibility
  • Anaerobic exercise
  • Interdisciplinary pain programs
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Pain management
  • Chronic pain
  • Rehabilitation