Exercise for mental health symptoms with chronic pain

RussellSue

Not Active
Ok, so my last 18 months have been hard. Oh, heck, my last nearly 41 years have been hard but about 18 months ago, I injured myself in such a way that multiple pieces of soft tissue from my belly button down on my left side have been significantly affected, plus nerves, as well as several important things on my right side, such as my hip joint. I also have underlying bone issues.

When exercising became a problem, my depression started creeping because exercise (cardio specifically) has been the ONLY thing that has made a significant impact on improving my depression/anxiety and I had come to believe in and rely upon exercise. Over time, I was able to get cardio with or without access to a pool or other expensive or far away things even with these injuries. But when my pain gets really high, I don't want to exercise and so, depression kicks my ass while I am in severe pain, which is a really bad combo for more than one reason.

I know that a lot of us who have depression/anxiety and pain must fight this battle on a daily basis. We stop moving to protect ourselves from pain and because of this our depression/anxiety increase and our pain often gets worse, contributing to more pain and more depression/anxiety.

Yesterday, I didn't do squat because my pain level was ridiculous and I did not want to but I carefully got back after moderate to high-intensity exercise this morning. My overall pain level is lower and perhaps more importantly, my emotional state is much improved. I wish I'd gotten on it, yesterday, but waiting one day is nothing compared to what I used to do.

Is anyone else here battling chronic pain but staying active, regardless? How do you stay motivated? Have you learned any tricks to this business that might help someone else?
 
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whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Well, I'm doing stuff, but I don't exercise. It doesn't help me or my depression if I'm actually able to get to the point where I can do it. I am in a LOT of pain most days. Because I can't get any help with it, I either have to do with pain or stay in bed.

I'd much rather stay in bed most days.

I've been very active the last few months; my motivation has been caring for cats and getting new ones and needing to keep my home. So everything I do has been related to both. Little things get to me and often throw a wrench in any progress I've made - like today, so very much pain and now I just want to go to and stay in bed.

No tricks. Just not wanting to end up moving in with an errant relative or worse, living under the bridge.

I'm sorry you are also dealing with chronic pain. I think it is unconscionable that we can't get the help we need in order to live a full and happy life.
 

Strangelongtrip

MyPTSD Pro
I have multiple hip and pelvic injuries (next year will be my ten year anniversary with them haha!). There have been times I can't exercise, and my pain has been worse, but I've found what's "safe" for me. I try to walk 1-1.5 miles a day and right now I'm also doing 20 mins of yoga a day. Sometimes I do strength as well, light 5lb weights and a 15lb kettlebelll, but these are more likely to hurt me so I've held off of them. When I have access to a pool I swim and swim. that's my favorite exercise. Hard with COVID rn and winter, though. If I let up and don't walk or don't be active my pain comes back. Right now I have the time though. Wishing you luck, I know the pain cycle well and it's so hard to break!
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I've been very active the last few months; my motivation has been caring for cats and getting new ones and needing to keep my home. So everything I do has been related to both.
Many years ago, I inherited a little dog during a period of time when my depression and pain were both pretty high. He was pretty demanding, so I started taking him for walks, car rides, and more walks. He would bark his little dog head off if I didn't, so it was great motivation.

I am sorry you are having stress related to keeping your home. That's got to be very hard to deal with.

I think it is unconscionable that we can't get the help we need in order to live a full and happy life.
I feel fairly confident that my current physical therapist has been very good for me but this is a first. I always had chronic pain, but I didn't understand what I was doing to make it worse and I was doing quite a bit that was making it worse. It's been a very hard road. I don't understand why it took this long.

It doesn't help me or my depression if I'm actually able to get to the point where I can do it.
That is unfortunate. It helps me a lot. It took a long time before I knew that, though, because I went through a long period of being a lot less active, and so every time I tried to do anything, I would hurt myself and then decide I couldn't be active, anymore. I gained a lot of weight and hurt more.

I'm sorry you are also dealing with chronic pain.
Thanks. Me too. It's dumb.

I hope yours gets better, soon.

When I have access to a pool I swim and swim. that's my favorite exercise. Hard with COVID rn and winter, though.
I hear that! I miss swimming.

I used to go to the indoor pool at 24-hour fitness but we left the city and I have no idea when I will see water, again. My husband is finishing his teaching license and getting some credits from his teaching job in this tiny village we moved to - there's not even a grocery store.

If I let up and don't walk or don't be active my pain comes back.
It doesn't take long for me, at all. I am currently doing my best to keep on my PT exercises every other day and light hiking a couple of times a week. I can't make it 3 days without exercising before I realize I am going downhill.

There have been times I can't exercise, and my pain has been worse, but I've found what's "safe" for me.
I'm coming off of Lithium that I have been on for several years for depression. I'm way below a therapeutic dose now, so my depression started creeping back in and then the pain came on and it started getting stupid.

I realize now that going a single day without some sort of exercise is bad for my depression. Last week, my femoral nerve got messed up and I was in intense pain but decided just to exercise my arms on the 3 days that were the worst. It definitely took the edge off of the slump I was getting into. Normally, I'd have stayed in bed, but I am starting to get a grasp on my pattern.

I'm learning. I really had no idea how much staying active helped me with my pain and depression. I also didn't have a real grasp on how much my pain was keeping me from being active.

I have multiple hip and pelvic injuries (next year will be my ten year anniversary with them haha!).
I am sorry. That's a long time to have to deal with pain and injuries.

I guess I am stuck with mine until I get old enough to have my hips replaced, but I'll probably put that off, too, because I'm not sure that it's really the solution since I have a history of not healing from surgery the way I was meant to. I always had pain, but now it's a whole lot more of a force to be reckoned with.

Wishing you luck, I know the pain cycle well and it's so hard to break!
Thanks!

You too. It's so hard!
 

Lotsoflove

Sponsor
Ok, so my last 18 months have been hard. Oh, heck, my last nearly 41 years have been hard but about 18 months ago, I injured myself in such a way that multiple pieces of soft tissue from my belly button down on my left side have been significantly affected, plus nerves, as well as several important things on my right side, such as my hip joint. I also have underlying bone issues.

When exercising became a problem, my depression started creeping because exercise (cardio specifically) has been the ONLY thing that has made a significant impact on improving my depression/anxiety and I had come to believe in and rely upon exercise. Over time, I was able to get cardio with or without access to a pool or other expensive or far away things even with these injuries. But when my pain gets really high, I don't want to exercise and so, depression kicks my ass while I am in severe pain, which is a really bad combo for more than one reason.

I know that a lot of us who have depression/anxiety and pain must fight this battle on a daily basis. We stop moving to protect ourselves from pain and because of this our depression/anxiety increase and our pain often gets worse, contributing to more pain and more depression/anxiety.

Yesterday, I didn't do squat because my pain level was ridiculous and I did not want to but I carefully got back after moderate to high-intensity exercise this morning. My overall pain level is lower and perhaps more importantly, my emotional state is much improved. I wish I'd gotten on it, yesterday, but waiting one day is nothing compared to what I used to do.

Is anyone else here battling chronic pain but staying active, regardless? How do you stay motivated? Have you learned any tricks to this business that might help someone else?
I can relate. It’s very frustrating. I need a knee replacement. I pushed through the pain and began walking. I do weights sitting. Chair yoga , meditation, reiki. Having a walking buddy has helped push me. I’m on a lot of medication. RA is taxing. Fatigue is what really kills me. Stretching has helped. Ice, knee braces. Tens machine has helped. That can be gotten through a prescription. Some days I take as little as 100 steps. I do a lot of resting when I can. I try not to feel guilty for doing nothing on days I can’t. I let some house chores go. Choosing where to put my energy helps. Sometimes a new script for physical therapy is needed to get going. Steroids is my last resort. The winter is the most difficult time. I’ve used wii to stay active. I’ve put on Pilates or yoga on you tube and do what I can. Swimming helps. I’ve joined the gym in winter just for the pool. My girlfriend suggested virtual reality for exercise. Oculus is expensive but there’s some inexpensive ones that work with the smart phones.
 

Eagle3

MyPTSD Pro
I really struggle with this because I have several physical issues that make exercise a dangerous thing for me, yet moving is so necessary to keep the pain and depression at manageable levels. Its such a tightrope, and some days I walk it better than others. Right now, I'm on a slump that has kept me in bed for the last 2 days. I still feel very loopy and physically unregulated, but I have to get out and function socially tomorrow. It'll be fascinating to see what happens...

The last time I was triggered, I had to take a long hike to keep from physically lashing out at people who didn't deserve it. That event is WHY I'm in bed right now. It sucks so much!! I used to be able to spend hours sparring with friends, now I can't even take a walk without paying desperately for it. I lost my last job because it was too physically demanding, even though it's work I love and could have done just 10 years ago. So yeah, I feel the struggle. Haven't found an answer, other than pushing through when I can and resting when I have to. Honestly, not caring if I even wake up in the morning helps me exercise more, but that's not the healthiest of attitudes.

Good luck with this one.
 

Lotsoflove

Sponsor
Ok, so my last 18 months have been hard. Oh, heck, my last nearly 41 years have been hard but about 18 months ago, I injured myself in such a way that multiple pieces of soft tissue from my belly button down on my left side have been significantly affected, plus nerves, as well as several important things on my right side, such as my hip joint. I also have underlying bone issues.

When exercising became a problem, my depression started creeping because exercise (cardio specifically) has been the ONLY thing that has made a significant impact on improving my depression/anxiety and I had come to believe in and rely upon exercise. Over time, I was able to get cardio with or without access to a pool or other expensive or far away things even with these injuries. But when my pain gets really high, I don't want to exercise and so, depression kicks my ass while I am in severe pain, which is a really bad combo for more than one reason.

I know that a lot of us who have depression/anxiety and pain must fight this battle on a daily basis. We stop moving to protect ourselves from pain and because of this our depression/anxiety increase and our pain often gets worse, contributing to more pain and more depression/anxiety.

Yesterday, I didn't do squat because my pain level was ridiculous and I did not want to but I carefully got back after moderate to high-intensity exercise this morning. My overall pain level is lower and perhaps more importantly, my emotional state is much improved. I wish I'd gotten on it, yesterday, but waiting one day is nothing compared to what I used to do.

Is anyone else here battling chronic pain but staying active, regardless? How do you stay motivated? Have you learned any tricks to this business that might help someone else?
Some days I do nothing . Most days I push through the pain.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
This is me. Exactly me.
Thank you for saying so. I often feel very alone in that, but it is my life. I don't seem to have any way around it.

That's not really a complaint, though; it doesn't bother me that I have been forced to get into reasonably good physical condition. Otherwise, I wouldn't have -- not me -- I am WAY too lazy for this. I was never interested in physical exertion as a kid. I even managed to avoid physical education classes pretty much all the way through school. Though, admittedly, a big part of my problem was that I developed depression very young. I was not motivated, at all, and my depression just got worse and worse because I didn't do much.
 
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