How can exercise help with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Exercise for Managing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), you know how debilitating and frustrating this condition can be. CRPS is a chronic pain disorder that usually affects an arm or leg, and can cause intense burning pain, swelling, sensitivity to touch, muscle spasms, and restricted mobility in the affected limb.

While there is no cure for CRPS, various treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. One important component of a CRPS treatment plan is exercise and physical therapy. Staying active and doing the right exercises can provide both physical and psychological benefits for CRPS sufferers.

The Benefits of Exercise for CRPS
Exercise helps CRPS in several ways:

Reduces Pain and Swelling
Contrary to what you might think, movement is important for reducing pain and inflammation with CRPS. Gentle exercises improve blood flow and release endorphins to curb pain naturally.

Maintains Mobility
Keeping the affected limb mobile through stretches and exercises prevents muscle atrophy, joint stiffness, and loss of range of motion that can occur with disuse.

Improves Function
Working to regain strength and dexterity in the injured limb through targeted exercises can help CRPS patients perform daily activities more easily.

Reduces Stress and Depression
The psychological impacts of chronic pain are no joke. Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins and provides a healthy coping mechanism to manage stress.

Forms of Exercise for CRPS

Low-Impact Cardio
Activities like walking, swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine get your heart pumping to promote circulation without excessive joint strain. Our Vital Flow program has been deliberately designed to be low impact and light on the joints.

Flexibility Training
Gentle stretches help maintain range of motion, reduce muscle tension, and promote healing. Our Animal Flow program at Empowered Ageing is perfect for gently increasing flexibility.

Strength Training
As tolerated, light weightlifting or bodyweight exercises rebuild strength and prevent atrophy in the affected limb. Most of our programs at Empowered Ageing use bodyweight to gradually increase your strength.

The key for any CRPS exercise routine is to start slowly and gradually increase intensity, always stopping if you experience elevated pain or swelling. We work with a network of expert physiotherapists to design a customized plan that's safe and effective for your specific condition and needs. Be patient, stick with it, and celebrate small victories!

While living with CRPS certainly has its challenges, don't let it keep you sedentary. With the right exercises under professional guidance, you can better manage your symptoms, regain function and independence, and improve your overall well-being. We are here to help!


At Empowered Ageing, we offer personal training, group classes and health coaching in Portimao, Lagos and throughout the Algarve.