Exercise – the best non-drug treatment for chronic pain

By Judy Foreman

It was July 1, 2008.

I was standing outside the Outpatient Center at Chestnut Hill/New England Baptist Hospital in Boston – better known as “boot camp” – and I was petrified. I had been in excruciating neck pain for more than six months. The burning, searing pain ran straight from the lower part of my neck across to my left shoulder, along the way triggering muscle spasms so severe that my head was chronically tipped to the left, a problem called cervical dystonia, or, alternatively, torticollis.