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Building the pillars

Welcome back. We continue our journey through the pillars of chronic pain.The first blog post was about the first of four chronic pain pillars, goal setting.

Goals need to be SMART, which results in continued small successes, which translate into functional improvements.

The second pillar of chronic pain is cardiovascular (cv) fitness.

Everyone's favorite form of exercise.... I can see the heads shaking.

Why is it important? Because it's the best way to circulate fresh blood to ALL areas of the body, it releases the body's own endogenous opioids (pain killers), decrease nerve sensitivity, and it's good for mental health.

Surprisingly, you don't need much CV to help with pain. The current recommendation is about 150 minutes for CV health a week. Compare that for pain, you can see pain reduction benefits in as little as 10 minutes.

The 10 minutes needs to be at a certain threshold, but to make it easy, for most people that will be around 135bpm. This number will vary by age and current fitness level, but you'd be good to start there.

The good news is this can be done in any form of exercise. I prefer an elliptical or rower, but if you can walk to get your heart rate up, or dance, those work too. It just has to be TEN minutes at the 135 bpm threshold.

For example, you start to walk up a hill and your resting heart rate is 75bpm. After 3 minutes your heart rate is 125bpm and after 5 minutes it's 140bpm. The first 5 minutes can be considered a warm up and the 10 minute clock starts after the heart rate reaches past 135bpm.

Some people experience a "runner's high" when the opioids release, but you don't need to run to experience it. Find what works best for you.

You might be thinking, "I can't walk a half block, let alone 10 minutes." That's okay too! Just start with whatever is comfortable and schedule an appointment with me to work on a plan.

We've covered 2/4 pillars of chronic pain: goals and cardiovascular fitness. There are two more to go which are both a little more in depth.

Be kind to yourself,


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