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Chronic Pain & Chronic Fatigue

Chronic pain refers to pain that persists beyond the normal expected healing time by approximately 3 months. Chronic pain can interfere with your daily life and take a toll on your self-esteem and mood status. For some chronic pain conditions, such as spinal pain, fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome, there is a high level of pain with no known cause.

Becoming gradually more active is important in the management and treatment of chronic pain. There is no one optimal type of exercise for chronic pain and hence programs should be individualised and gradually progressed as appropriate.

Woman in Pain

Benefits of Exercise for Chronic Pain:

  • Improved joint lubrication

  • Improved muscle strength and reduced fatigue

  • Promotes relaxation of the nervous system

  • Reduced flare-ups

  • Increased release of endorphins, hence mood improvements

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterised by persistent fatigue that is medically unexplained. Disrupted sleep, achy muscles/joints and neurocognitive problems are also symptoms of chronic fatigue. Individuals with chronic fatigue may develop flu-like symptoms after exercise and lack energy to perform daily activities. For this reason, people with CFS cannot generally tolerate traditional exercise routines.

The goal with CFS and exercise is to balance activity and rest to avoid decreased physical conditioning whilst avoiding overexertion and flare-ups.


In both conditions, it is important to start slow and gradually increase exercise load as tolerated. On a bad day, don’t do nothing, but on a good day, don’t try to overachieve. Choose forms of exercise you enjoy and consider a combination of aerobic and resistance training.


Consider seeing our Exercise Physiologist’s here at 4 Life Exercise Physiology if you require help with your exercise plan.

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