How To Use The Pain-Blocking Effects Of Exercise?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Pain is an disagreeable sensory and emotional experience that is associated with, or resembles that associated with, actual or possible tissue damage. In addition, pain is always subjective, and each person learns the application of the word through experiences that are related to injury in early life. It is also argued activity induced in nociceptor and nociceptive pathways by toxic stimulus is not pain.

For people who are suffering from pain, their initial response is to avoid exercise and seek rest. And yet exercise therapy is frequently prescribed as a treatment option for managing pain. There are known advantages of exercise and regular physical activity.

Here are the benefits of physical activity:

  • Controls weight,
  • Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease,
  • Reduces the risk of some cancers, strengthens bones and muscles,
  • Enhances mental health and mood,
  • Improves the ability to perform day-to-day activities and prevent falls, as well as
  • Increases chances of living longer.

What Are The Benefits Of Exercise For Managing Pain?

The benefits of exercise for dealing with pain are well documented in a number of different of clinical settings. These include nonspecific back pain, for lower back pain during pregnancy, for knee osteoarthritis pain as well as many other cases of chronic noncancer pain conditions. However, much of this research concentrates on the benefits of strengthening exercises.

In addition, high intensity aerobic activity has been shown to decrease pain significantly. This is a phenomenon that is referred to as exercise-induced hypoalgesia (EIH, or runner’s high). However, for older patients, high-intensity workouts may not be an accurate or a safe option, given the possible disabilities or complicating health factors which they may have.

Moreover, a study that compares older and younger healthy adults has shown age disparities in EIH after isometric as well as aerobic exercise, with younger adults undergoing greater EIH as compared with older adults.

Could Light Physical Activity For Older Adults Offer The Same Benefits As High-Intensity Aerobics Do For Healthy Adults?

The answer looks to be a distinct yes, according to a research team which is led by Kelly M Naugle, PhD, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana.

In a study which examined the results of light physical activity (PA) on 47 older adult patients (15 male with an average age = 67.35 yrs ± 5), Dr Naugle and her colleagues found that the collected data on total energy expenditure and light PA meaningly predicted pain inhibitory function, according to conditioned pain modulation (CPM) tests. The team made the finding that frequent, low-intensity PA was associated with greater pain inhibition in healthy older adults. Moderate to vigorous PA data also predicted pain facilitation on temporal summation (TS) tests for heat pain (at 48° C).

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