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Pain Management Behavior Exercise Holistic

Physical Activity Protects You From Chronic Pain

2 months, 2 weeks ago

2497  0
Posted on Apr 04, 2024, 6 p.m.

Those who are more active in their free time have a lower chance of having various types of chronic pain 7 to 8 years later according to recent research from UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health published in the journal PAIN. 

Results from this study of over 10,000 adults found that those who are more physically active have a higher tolerance for pain than those who are sedentary, and the higher their activity level was the higher their pain tolerance was. They also found that the ability to tolerate pain played a role in this apparent effect, which could explain why being more physically active lowers the risk of having severe chronic pain later. 

"We found that people who were more active in their free time had a lower chance of having various types of chronic pain 7-8 years later. For example, being just a little more active, such as going from light to moderate activity, was associated with a 5% lower risk of reporting some form of chronic pain later," says doctoral fellow Anders Årnes at UiT and UNN.

"This suggests that physical activity increases our ability to tolerate pain and may be one of the ways in which activity helps to reduce the risk of severe chronic pain," says Årnes.

For this study after obtaining information about the participants' history and lifestyle habits, the researchers examined how well the same people handled cold pain in laboratory settings. They also checked if the participants experienced pain lasting for more than 3 months, including pain in several areas of the body, and the severity of the pain.

The analysis revealed that 60% of the participants reported experiencing some form of chronic pain, 5% experienced pain in multiple areas, and very few experienced more serious pain conditions. The team found that being a little more active, like progressing from light to moderate activity, was associated with a 5% lower risk of reporting some form of pain later, and for severe chronic pain in several places higher activity was associated with a 16% decreased risk. 

"Physical activity is not dangerous in the first place, but people with chronic pain can benefit greatly from having an exercise program adapted to help them balance their effort so that it is not too much or too little. Healthcare professionals experienced in treating chronic pain conditions can often help with this. A rule of thumb is that there should be no worsening that persists over an extended period of time, but that certain reactions in the time after training can be expected."

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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