7 surprising ways to exercise with chronic pain

7 surprising ways to exercise with chronic pain

When you live with chronic pain or Fibromyalgia all you hear is exercise exercise exercise. Because when just getting out of bed is accomplishment, of course you should go running because it will surely be good for you. Because this advice just won’t go away, I’ve come up with a few things that I do on a regular basis that a healthy person wouldn’t consider exercise, but for me it’s a different story.

  1. Getting out of bed

It’s really not as easy as it sounds. Do you know how hard it is to roll over and launch myself off the bed? It’s not easy I tell you.

got out of bed

2. Waiting in line

Healthy people don’t realize how taxing waiting in line can be. You never know how long you’re going to be stuck standing there. If you’re like me inevitably the person in front of you feels the need to argue with the cashier and doesn’t know how to use a credit card (this happened to me last week, and it wasn’t an old person. It was mind boggling). So 20 minutes later you’re still stuck there and you’ve used all your energy for the day.


not bad


3. Going to the doctor’s office

I consider going to my doctor the equivalent of running a marathon. I have to drive 1 hour through terrible traffic, park in the parking garage, walk through two buildings, take the elevator to the 20 millionth floor, and then walk through the maze of offices. Once I get there I have to wait in the waiting room for hours, then wait in the patient room for forever, then go back to the waiting room, then go get my blood work done, then go back to the waiting room to get my parking validated, then go back to the parking garage, get out of the parking garage (This is harder than it sounds. I usually have to help 2-3 seniors who can’t figure out how to get out of the garage so they block the exit), then drive to the pharmacy to drop off my prescriptions, drive home, drive back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions, then go home again. It’s exhausting.

doctor office

4. Walking up stairs

Healthy people may not consider stairs exercise, but I sure do. This is me in the crown of the Statue of Liberty. It’s safe to say I barely made it to the top after 354 stairs.

statue of liberty

That’s an extreme example, but even a regular set of stairs can look as tall as a mountain when you’re in pain.

5. Moving from the bed to the couch

When you have no energy, it really is an accomplishment.

6. Taking a shower

On certain days showering ranks up their with mowing the lawn and running a marathon on the list of things that seem impossible. Showering is a bad mix of heat and having to stand in one place for a period of time.


7. Cleaning

Cleaning is basically exercise anyway, and this is especially true for people with chronic pain. Cleaning takes a lot of energy. I know for sure that mopping my floor burns quite a few calories, so on mopping days I give myself a pat on the back for exercising. Go me!

clean all the things

clean all the things 2

So don’t let anyone tell you that you never exercise, you absolutely do.

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4 thoughts on “7 surprising ways to exercise with chronic pain

  1. Yes everything seems hard because it is.

    I have doctors tomorrow and despite writing things down, i am now finding it hard to find the right words to describe to Drs things which gave a poor outcome last 2 visits.

    Your Doctors visit seems a nightmare.

    It is very hard juggling health with things. Best of luck and lots of rest when you can.

    1. I have trouble with finding the right words as well. It’s really frustrating to not be able to communicate my needs as effectivly as I would like. Best of luck to you too!

  2. This post did not go the way I anticipated! What a nice surprise. I am so tired of hearing about how “moving will help you feel better”. Yeah, I bet it will. If only I could. Thank you for reminding people that “exercise” means different things to different people.

  3. It’s so refreshing to read this, where seemingly small, simple things that many take for granted get ranked as ways to exercise. You’re absolutely right, sometimes taking a shower is like a marathon and on days like that it’s enough; we can be too hard on ourselves to do more, to keep pushing, when we’re not well. I agree with Wendy too – exercise means different things to different people, and it’s not always helpful, nor the panacea for all your health woes either! Great post! x

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