August 15


Learn the Best Exercises for Chronic Pain in Canberra

By Dan

August 15, 2020

Back Pain, Belconnen, Canberra, Exercise, Fibromyalgia, Massage, Pain

Chronic Pain Canberra

Chronic pain can be extremely debilitating. Unfortunately, one in five Australians experience chronic pain, this includes Canberra. It is associated with 40% of early retirements in Australia and is the third most costly health burden.

The incidence of chronic pain is predicted to increase by 10% per decade for the next four decades. Chronic pain is when a person experiences pain that can range from intense, to a milder level that still significantly impedes functioning.

The origin of chronic pain can usually be attributed to an injury or illness that occurred in a person’s life, and the pain they initially feel is a result of this. Sometimes the chronic pain is the result of an unresolvable physical health problem, however, often the extended period of pain has no obvious physical cause, as the pain has extended beyond the normal healing period.

Initially, it can be very difficult for those who experience chronic pain to understand it. At times the pain unexplainably extends from its original source to other areas of the body, and can leave sufferers confused as to why their pain is continuing or spreading. Chronic pain can last from a few months to potentially the rest of a person’s life.

Chronic pain can also be attributed to various biological factors. The nervous system plays a large role in chronic pain, as does movements, thoughts and emotional reactions to the pain. Chemicals within the body can also affect the pain experience, which can have either an excitatory or calming effect on the nervous system.

One of the problems with treating chronic pain conditions is that clinicians often view chronic pain the same as acute pain, seeing pain as a reliable indicator of the severity of the injury, the worse the injury the worse the pain.

The issue with this approach is that in contrast to acute injury, with chronic pain the relationship between pain and injury uncouples. In this instance, other factors besides injury to the joints, muscles tendons and ligaments and tissues become very important in ‘how much it hurts’.

The longer pain persists the more important these ‘non tissue related factors’ become in driving the cycle of pain and disability. For some chronic pain conditions, such as spinal pain, fibromyalgia and chronic regional pain syndrome there is high level pain with no known cause identified. The best example of pain without injury is phantom limb pain which can persist for years after amputation.

Though chronic pain has obvious physical effects (i.e. painful sensations), it also often leads to, or is exacerbated by, psychological problems. For instance, those with chronic pain are 20% more likely to experience depression, usually as a result of the chronic pain condition.

Because chronic pain can affect both physical and mental wellbeing, it is important for sufferers to seek psychological help as well as medical intervention, in order to understand the numerous ways of reducing the debilitating effects of chronic pain and improving quality of life.

Chronic pain (also known as persistent pain) is pain that persists beyond the expected healing time of an injury. Unlike acute pain which is caused by tissue damage, chronic pain or persistent pain is less about the structural or tissue damage and more about the sensitivity of the nervous system and ‘non tissue related factors’.

The Benefits of Exercise For Chronic Pain

Significant research has shown that exercise is an essential aspect in the treatment of chronic pain.

Often when we experience chronic pain we avoid activity in an attempt to not cause pain flare ups. However we know that gradually over time people experiencing chronic pain become less able to complete activities which were previously enjoyed, for example walking, and commonly also have difficulties in completing activities of daily living such as housework.

Pain Management Specialists Canberra

Accelr8 Rehab

I can provide specific Exercise Programs for those in Chronic Pain. The Clinic is located in Belconnen.

There are also some other good Programs in Canberra for those in Chronic Pain. These include the following:

ACT Pain Centre

Dr Romil Jain, Pain Medicine Physician and Interventional Pain Specialist provides a specialist pain service. Not a multidisciplinary clinic.

Suite 6, Calvary Clinic,

40 Mary Potter Circuit,

Bruce 2617

tel: 61950180; 61470669

email: [email protected]

Capital Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic

A private pain clinic, pain specialist, range of allied health & rehabilitation services, one day course
25 Napier Close Deakin

Tel: 62826240

Pain Management Unit - Canberra Health Services

The Pain Management Unit provides post-operative or trauma pain management services and supports people experiencing chronic pain or pain that persists for more than three months.

Pain Management Unit (PMU) outpatient clinics are moving from Canberra Hospital to the University of Canberra Hospital and will operate from that location From Monday, 17 August. However, the Pain Management Unit will retain a presence at Canberra Hospital to continue to provide Acute Pain Service care and a range of consultation services to patients at Canberra Hospital.

Administration: Pain Management Unit, Level 2, University of Canberra Hospital.

Location: Ward 12B, Building 3, Level 2,Canberra Hospital.

Outpatient Clinic location: Brindabella Centre, Ground Floor, University of Canberra Hospital.

You can access the Pain Management Unit through a referral from your GP or medical specialist. For more information please contact the Pain Management Unit by phone on (02) 5124 3055, by email at [email protected] or by fax on (02) 5124 3657.

Canberra Endometriosis Centre (including pelvic pain)

Public centre which includes a range of pelvic pain services

Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, Bldg 11 Level 2 Canberra Hospital, Yamba Drive Woden ACT 2606

Tel: (02) 6174 7625

Canberra Injury Management Centre

Canberra Injury Management Centre (CIMC) was established in 1998 to provide an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to treatment and rehabilitation of people with injuries or pain – across the treatment spectrum from acute to chronic.

Why it’s important to exercise when you have Chronic Pain

Exercise is Pain Management. Research has shown that exercise can be an effective way to reverse this downward cycle of deconditioning and worsening pain, and gradually over time help those with chronic pain engage more in activities of enjoyment and essential activities of daily living with greater ease.

Exercise and Pain Relief should go hand in hand. I have written an article about Persistent and Chronic Pain. You can find it here :

How to restore 4 Happy Hormones when you have Persistent Pain

Things to remember:

  • Remember that ‘Exercise is Medicine!’ and is an important daily strategy used to assist in the management of pain conditions.
  • Stretch to cool down, not warm up, and do short bursts of exercise, not long stretches.
  • It is important to start slowly when beginning an exercise program, and avoid pushing into stronger pain. It is often useful to use the 0-10 scale to monitor your pain levels while exercising.

If pain levels increase by more than 2 points from baseline you should stop and modify that exercise, to ensure that you do not cause a flare up of your pain.

Types of exercise recommended for those in Canberra

Daniel O'Sullivan from Accelr8 Rehab recommends combining multiple forms of exercise for chronic pain, including:

Stretching exercises

It’s important to stretch at least once a day to help increase flexibility, loosen tight/stiff muscles, and improve your range of motion. Stretching everyday will help ease your everyday movements.

Strengthening exercises

To help build strong muscles, for example, squats, wall push ups or bicep curls.

Cardiovascular exercises

Walking, swimming or bike riding provide light aerobic exercise, which provides a list of healing benefits. If working out in a gym, try an elliptical trainer (which is lower impact than a treadmill)


Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)

Consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist for an individually tailored exercise program to help with the management of your pain condition.

Exercise Right also recommends attending a Pain Management Program at a rehabilitation centre or hospital where there is multidisciplinary team of Medical and Allied Health professionals who are skilled in the treatment and management of chronic pain conditions.


Swimming and water aerobics in a heated pool

Warm water relaxes muscles, and the weightlessness helps with movement and minimises the load on your joints. Avoid exercise in cold water as this can make muscles tense.

Chronic Pain Program at a rehabilitation centre

There are specific chronic pain programs and classes run at major hospitals and rehabilitation centres that can provide expert advice and assistance in managing your condition.


Exercise in the mid-morning or early afternoon

If you have chronic pain, you may be best exercising in the mid-morning or early afternoon – or otherwise when any pain medication is in its peak effectiveness. Avoid exercising when your muscles may be tense, or when the threat of fatigue is at its worst.

While you sleep, your body temperature drops, leaving you stiff and lacking flexibility in the morning. Since flexibility helps your joints move in their full range of motion during a workout, you may not perform optimally first thing in the morning. Everybody is different however, so listen to your body and talk to your accredited exercise professional for more advice.

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