You should bear in mind that there is "good" pain and there is "bad" pain. The distinction is simple: "good" pain is a dull, aching muscular pain which dissipates within seconds after a hard exercise set; "bad" pain is a sharp, intense pain located located at or near a joint which may persist or get worse days after exercising.
If you are experiencing chronic pain outside of your workouts you should see a physical therapist, orthopedic doctor, or other health professional. But exercise should be recommended within a short period of time. Exercise may actually reduce the severity of pain. Counter-intuitive, no doubt. But studies have indicated that one should not avoid exercise because the consequences of being sedentary (i.e., deconditioning, muscle atrophy, etc.) are actually worse than that of exercising. In fact, regular exercise may help to reduce chronic pain. This is primarily due to the release of the body's own pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins may also alleviate anxiety and depression. Additional reasons why exercise can reduce pain are due to the following:
- Increased muscular and bone strength
- Increased flexibility and range of motion
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced body weight
- Enhanced mood and overall sense of well-being
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."