Try Exercise Before Popping More Meds

Try Exercise Before Popping More Meds

Exercise is beneficial for many different aches and pains. Many new studies are coming out about the benefits of exercise. The beauty of it is it’s never too late to start. There are so many different exercises that can be done – or modified – to what works at your own unique fitness level. Some common aches include:


A new review from the Journal and the American Medical Association and Internal Medicine researched the value of exercise as a way to prevent occurrences of low back pain. Exercise alone was linked to a 35 percent reduction in flare ups. Exercise alone was found to result in a 78 percent reduction in sick leave due to low back pain. The findings of the research raises the important issue that for exercise to remain as a long term benefit for low back pain, a person must keep up that behavior. If receiving medication or an injection were as effective, we’d be hearing about it – all over the news, TVs, social media and more.


Most clinical practice guidelines recommend exercise as a first line treatment for stiffness and pain in the knee osteoarthritis. In a recent Cochrane review, they reviewed 54 clinical trials and found that participants who completed exercise programs experienced moderate improvement in pain and physical function immediately after treatment – about the same as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. The pain relief from exercise was still significant even two to six months later.


There is a new CDC document aimed at primary care providers who may prescribe opioids to treat chronic pain. The guidelines attempt to rein in the growing rates of opioid abuse and overdose and help reduce the prevalence of opioid prescriptions. Prescription numbers topped 259 million in 2012 – which is enough for every adult in the US to have a bottle of pills! The first recommendation from the CDC states there is evidence that exercise therapy (a prominent treatment in physical therapy) reduces pain and improves function immediately after treatment. Approaches such as physical therapy have traditionally been underutilized and can serve as a very effective way to reduce prescription pain medication abuse and greatly improve the lives of individuals with chronic pain. Exercise interventions have the potential to improve health outcomes, reduce costs and decrease the risks associated with opioid prescriptions.


Ten randomized controlled trials were evaluated in another Cochrane review. This high quality evidence supported a significantly greater reduction in pain and improvement in physical function with the exercise groups as compared to control groups.

Bottom line is that exercise prescription is very important in preventing injury and helping with pain relief. If you are dealing with chronic pain contact us first! We may be able to help you get relief without more prescriptions.