Ask a Physiotherapist: Best MOVEment Activities for People with Pain (June 1, 2017)



  • Here's a question submitted to us in advance of today's forum discussion:

    When I start moving and exercising, I feel like I am making my pain and injuries worse, so why should I be moving when I feel better when I rest?



  • @lyc It might be helpful to your family member if you helped them to fill out a Personal Action Plan to help them set goals for their movement. You could even be their "accountability buddy" so that they could check in with you about how they are progressing.

    If you need a little help creating the Action Plan, you can view this helpful video.

    @lyc said:

    Hi, I have older family members that struggle with chronic pain. I'm keen to support them to encourage them to move more, but I'm not sure what the best activities are for them. I've suggested some but they seem reluctant. Any tips? What can I do with them that helps them move in a way that helps them that we can do together?
    For example, even walking seems too difficult for one of my relatives.



  • @lyc Yes it can be a great family activity! Shallow water classes are an awesome way to move and exercise with the support of the water. If there is a pool in your area with warmer water (some community pools have this option) this can be quite comfortable when in pain too.

    @lyc said:

    @JeffJukesPhysio Thanks, appreciate the suggestions, and I agree that the pool might be a good place to start. Like maybe a shallow water aquafit class? I think that's something we could do together as a family!



  • @JeffJukesPhysio Thanks, appreciate the suggestions, and I agree that the pool might be a good place to start. Like maybe a shallow water aquafit class? I think that's something we could do together as a family!



  • Thanks for the question @lyc and good for you for helping out - we know that having a good support system around us when we are in pain can be hugely helpful. Perhaps asking your family members about things they have done in the past that have gone well or that they enjoyed doing might be a good place to start. We know that when the person in pain has good expectations going into an activity that this can be helpful with how they feel during the activity! Other options for when walking is hurting is to start with some chair exercises (i.e. marching while seated), or gentle stretches for the legs and arms while in the chair. Most of the things can be a joint activity where you sit facing each other and do the movements together! The other option that some people in pain like is go to the pool and do some movement in the pool - this helps take some load off the body when being upright and walking is hurting!

    @lyc said:

    Hi, I have older family members that struggle with chronic pain. I'm keen to support them to encourage them to move more, but I'm not sure what the best activities are for them. I've suggested some but they seem reluctant. Any tips? What can I do with them that helps them move in a way that helps them that we can do together?
    For example, even walking seems too difficult for one of my relatives.



  • @lyc Great question! It's wonderful that you're looking for ways to support your family members!



  • Hi, I have older family members that struggle with chronic pain. I'm keen to support them to encourage them to move more, but I'm not sure what the best activities are for them. I've suggested some but they seem reluctant. Any tips? What can I do with them that helps them move in a way that helps them that we can do together?
    For example, even walking seems too difficult for one of my relatives.



  • Good question as it's often difficult to know how to progress! Movement progression will always be an individualized plan, so speaking with a physiotherapist can help with choosing the right plan for you, however we can often use a couple of general rules of thumb:

    1. Pain should not increase much while you are moving or exercising
    2. It's okay to have some mild soreness or pain during activity
    3. You may feel tired during exercise and this is okay!
    4. Try and minimize long lasting pain after the movement or exercise – this can be done be tracking how you feel before, during and after movement or exercise. You ideally shouldn’t feel more sore or painful for the 24 hours after the movement or activity
    5. If most of these are happening then you are likely safe to keep going and eventually progress! If not, perhaps choose a different movement or activity and see if these rules work for that.

    @Forum_Moderator said:

    Here's another question from our community:

    If I start doing some kind of movement or activity, how do I know if its okay to keep going and then progress?



  • Thanks for the question and for sharing your story @wannabepainwarrior. It sounds like you have been through a lot in the past few years. I want to congratulate you first of all for seeking out advice and options for managing your condition! What we know about starting a rehab program is that we need to start small and slow. Good general advice would be to start with a few minutes of some kind of movement/activity that you enjoy doing. After doing this you can typically start to slowly progress as long as you feel okay after the initial activity that you do - using a 10% per week increase can be a nice place to start. Remember that it's okay to be a bit sore and tired after moving and being active as long as it's nothing intolerable.

    @wannabepainwarrior said:

    Hi Jeff. Thank u for being here. I'm 55 and was T-boned in a bad car accident 9 1/2 years ago, had another car accident 4 1/2 years later, then a bad slip + fall on ice in January. Rural BC result: untreated, unmanaged traumatic brain & bodily injuries -- persistent chronic pain (fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, arthritis, bursitis), headaches, migraines, nausea, chronic fatigue, poor stamina, issues w/ memory, balance & dizziness, sleep, and being accident prone -- all of which obviously impedes my movement desires & plans. No rehab to date, sporadic pharmaceutical interventions. Ongoing progressive decline in function -- physically & cognitively disabled & unable to manage certain basic ADL's. Capacity for physical activity extremely limited & decreasing. Now walk with 2 canes. What would be your Top Best Things & a suggested Action Plan to get & employ more movement into my daily life?



  • @wannabepainwarrior You've been through a lot. Good for you for joining us to learn more about working towards improved function!



  • Hi Jeff. Thank u for being here. I'm 55 and was T-boned in a bad car accident 9 1/2 years ago, had another car accident 4 1/2 years later, then a bad slip + fall on ice in January. Rural BC result: untreated, unmanaged traumatic brain & bodily injuries -- persistent chronic pain (fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, arthritis, bursitis), headaches, migraines, nausea, chronic fatigue, poor stamina, issues w/ memory, balance & dizziness, sleep, and being accident prone -- all of which obviously impedes my movement desires & plans. No rehab to date, sporadic pharmaceutical interventions. Ongoing progressive decline in function -- physically & cognitively disabled & unable to manage certain basic ADL's. Capacity for physical activity extremely limited & decreasing. Now walk with 2 canes. What would be your Top Best Things & a suggested Action Plan to get & employ more movement into my daily life?



  • Here's another question from our community:

    If I start doing some kind of movement or activity, how do I know if it's okay to keep going and then progress?



  • Nice first question! The best part about movement is that is can be anything involving an action of the body! This definition gives us so much freedom as to what we can do to move. Some examples could be: waving your arms, playing badminton, going for a walk, curling, playing bocce ball, dancing, hula hooping or could be any type of sport or activity. The important thing about movement for people in pain is that we do some kind of movement and attempt to do it often – every movement counts!

    @Forum_Moderator said:

    Our first question comes from our community: What does movement actually mean and what are some of things I can do?



  • Our first question comes from our community: What does movement actually mean and what are some of things I can do?



  • Welcome Jeff! We're almost ready to begin today's Ask the Expert with a physiotherapist. We'll begin at 2:30 PM PST on the dot. Welcome to those who are joining us live today!



  • Hello Everyone! I'm Jeff and I am a Physiotherapist in Vancouver - I am here today to help try and answer any questions you might have about movement and pain.


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