"I can't exercise, I'm in too much pain."
This can be true sometimes, like when you've just broken a bone, or if you just began treatment for cancer, among other things. But 99% of the time that you say this to yourself, you are tricking yourself. Or, you don't know the right exercises to do.
"But I've tried exercise! It hurts too much, trust me."
I believe you. But I can almost guarantee that the exercise you were doing was too intense. In America, when we hear the word 'exercise' we think of running, or lifting weights, or doing jumping jacks. It's true, those are all exercises, but they are only one kind of exercise: fast and hard. They get your heart rate up, they make you sweat, they make you lose your breath.
There is an entire category of exercises that Americans are missing out on: the slow and gentle exercises. These exercises should be done using between 40% and 80% of our effort. Something like walking is good, but it doesn't get your mind and body working in sync.
Yoga is good too, but it can be very challenging at the beginning for people with chronic pain, or joint issues.
The best place to start is with Tai Chi. The nature and speed of Tai Chi movements is exactly what the body needs to relieve chronic pain and restore joint tissues.
Trust me, sitting and doing nothing will make your chronic pain worse. I've seen arthritic inflammation get much worse from inactivity. I've also seen symptoms get worse due to too much activity.
Tai Chi provides the balanced approach that these conditions require to improve.