MAY 16, 2024 9:00 AM PDT

Physical Activity May Reduce Chronic Pain

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A new study published in the journal Pain has shown that participating in regular physical activity may protect people from experiencing chronic pain.

The study included almost 7,000 participants in Norway. Participants were surveyed about their exercise habits during their free time. Then, the participants’ tolerance to cold pain was measured in a laboratory. Seven to eight years later, the participants were evaluated for the presence of various types of chronic pain.

The results showed that participants who were more physically active had a higher pain tolerance than participants who were sedentary, with higher activity levels corresponding to greater pain tolerance. During the follow up 7–8 years later, people who were more active during their leisure time had a lower chance of experiencing chronic pain. Being slightly more active, such as participating in moderate physical activity rather than light physical activity, was associated with a 5% lower risk of experiencing chronic pain. For experiencing severe chronic pain in multiple locations, participating in higher levels of physical activity was associated with a 16% lower risk. The changes in experiencing chronic pain appeared to be linked to the ability to tolerate pain, which may be related to physical activity.

The authors noted that physical activity appears to increase our ability to tolerate pain, which partially mediates our experience of chronic pain. They also noted that participating in a structured exercise program could be very beneficial for people who are already experiencing chronic pain. A healthcare professional can help determine the correct types and amounts of exercise to incorporate into one’s life that will decrease chronic pain without causing further issues. Exercise is a key component of overall health, including heart health and mental health, and these results further emphasize the benefits of exercise for overall quality of life.

Sources: Pain, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...