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Medication implications and exercising with health conditions.....


Specialist exercise instructor Graham Kavanagh instructing an exercise session
A low back pain exercise session

One of the areas I get asked about fairly frequently is how does medication affect exercise prescription? This is hugely important as the implications can be serious.....


The immediate answer I give is this..... possible side effects. Side effects can alter how sessions are prescribed until improvements are made.


The classifications of medical prescription can each bring their own complications depending on the individual. ⬇️


A simple paracetamol may not have any unwanted side effects, but for some individuals there can be. Analgesics, can have adverse reactions such as vomiting, constipation and drowsiness. 👈


Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID'S) act to reduce pain and swelling but gastrointestinal discomfort may occur. 👈


Sometimes weak opioids are prescribed and they act on the CNS to dissociate pain, but drowsiness can make exercise difficult so complete supervision is needed. Spasmolytic agents (muscle relaxants) can cause drowsiness, dizziness and co-ordination issues making certain workout environments unsafe. 👈


The list goes on..... even some anti-depressants can be prescribed in severe cases for not only pain relief but to reduce depression associated with some back pain cases. More than one medication may be prescribed..... but the important thing is that individuals may be on medication for pain management.


This can affect what exercises are done, what workout environment may be unsuitable such as a training facility. Drowsiness, unsurety of step or balance and trip hazards and dehydration.


This also highlights the importance of a consultation where information gathering is the basic process to determine how an exercise session may run in the initial stages.


Can medication be reduced? Yes. It depends on adherence to the prescribed program of exercise..... and the ultimate aim is to regain functional ability, reduce pain which can have a knock on effect with reducing medication under medical supervision.


Take hypertensive conditions as an example, of whom I've trained many. Medication often gets reduced when exercise is introduced as exercise has a profound effect on reducing blood pressure "generally". 🔶


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