By Mary Hightower, U of A System Division of Agriculture
Individuals with chronic pain may find their condition worsening if they fail to keep moving. The Cooperative Extension Service wants to help them manage their pain, by providing a low impact exercise class designed to relax and rejuvenate the body.
Move with Ease is funded by a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Agriculture Department, and is being offered in Clark, Clay, Hot Spring, Polk and White counties. The grant is meant to provide alternatives to opioids for those living with, and trying to manage, chronic pain.
“Research has shown that movement can help pain sufferers in many ways,” said Addie Wilson, extension program associate-health, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Movement helps maintain muscle tone and muscle mass, increases flexibility and helps strengthen the structures that support our joints.”
She said the program’s low impact movements are based on a form of yoga that has shown to be effective in managing pain.
“The chronic pain we are targeting is that experienced in the joint and deep tissue,” Wilson said. “When the body experiences chronic pain, the muscles become tense. This tension blocks access to the deep tissue where a source of the chronic pain can reside.
“The program enables participants to practice poses that give the body time to relax and rejuvenate,” Wilson said. “This also can help participants improve their range of motion and flexibility – helping to prevent a permanent loss of mobility.”
The program runs six weeks, with two sessions a week. It features a structured progression enabling those who have difficulty moving to begin slowly practicing the poses with supports such as blocks, bolsters, and blankets to accommodate their bodies.
There is no cost to attend. Those who are interested should contact their county extension office to find out start dates and locations. Participants should have consent from their medical provider. Modifications are offered for exercises in the program, and the exercises may be tailored to individual needs and fitness level.
County agents offering the program are Kristal Draper in Hot Spring County, Bridgett Martin in Polk County, Debbie Baker in Clay County, JoAnn Vann in Clark County and Katie Cullum in White County.
To learn about Move With Ease or other wellness programs, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu. Follow the Cooperative Extension Service on Twitter at @uaex_edu.