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Exercise May Help You Better Tolerate Pain

Exploring the Relationship Between Pain Tolerance and Exercise: The Impact of Physical Activity

By satish KumarPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
Exercise May Help You Better Tolerate Pain
Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

Chronic pain has become more prevalent in the United States than depression or diabetes. It is a persistent and challenging condition to treat. However, two recent studies have shed light on this increasingly common condition, exploring a potential intervention and uncovering insights into the origins of chronic pain.

1. The Role of Exercise in Recovery

By John Arano on Unsplash

A study published on May 24 in the journal Plos ONE suggests that exercise, despite being the last thing a person living with pain may want to do, could be a critical element in their recovery. Researchers at the University Hospital of North Norway in Troms analyzed data from a large Norwegian population study involving 10,732 adults. The study measured participants' self-reported activity levels and pain tolerance, assessed by submerging their hands in ice water and having them rank their pain on a scale. The survey was conducted twice, approximately eight years apart.

The findings revealed that individuals with more active lifestyles exhibited higher pain tolerance. Moreover, the study discovered that those who increased their levels of physical activity over the study period reported greater pain tolerance over time. The authors suggest that frequent movement could serve as a non-pharmacological approach to reducing or preventing chronic pain. While treating pain remains a challenge due to the complexity of how the body perceives and regulates it, this study offers promising insights into lifestyle interventions.

2. Unveiling the Complexity of Chronic Pain Origins

By Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Understanding the origins of chronic pain has always been a complex task, especially given its association with conditions such as mental health disorders. However, a study published on May 22 in the journal Nature Neuroscience delves into the brain activity of individuals experiencing chronic pain, providing valuable insights into its neurological aspects.

The research team at the University of California, San Francisco took a novel approach to studying chronic pain. Instead of relying on traditional brain-scan methods, which have limitations in capturing extensive information and require complex equipment, the team surgically embedded small devices into the brains of patients with chronic nerve pain. These devices monitored signals sent through two brain regions: the anterior cingulate cortex, known for its role in the emotional element of pain, and the orbitofrontal cortex, suggested to play a role in pain intensity.

By Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Over several months, the participants tracked their symptoms and pain flares, which were then cross-referenced with quantifiable data recorded from brain activity. The researchers made a significant observation: neural activity in the orbitofrontal cortex persisted longer than activity in other regions. This suggests that some current medications used to treat chronic pain may not be providing the most effective relief. The study proposes that brain activity could potentially be used to predict and measure chronic pain waves, paving the way for more targeted and personalized treatment approaches.

In conclusion, these two recent studies provide valuable insights into chronic pain and its management. The Norwegian study emphasizes the role of exercise in enhancing pain tolerance, offering a non-pharmacological approach to addressing chronic pain. On the other hand, the study on brain activity highlights the complexity of chronic pain and the need for more targeted treatments based on a deeper understanding of its neurological mechanisms.


1. How does exercise help with chronic pain?

Exercise has been shown to increase pain tolerance over time. Engaging in regular physical activity can be a non-pharmacological approach to reduce or prevent chronic pain.

2. Can lifestyle interventions effectively address chronic pain?

Yes, lifestyle interventions are a critical part of managing chronic pain. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and other self-care practices can have a positive impact on pain management.

3. Why is chronic pain challenging to treat?

Chronic pain is difficult to treat because its underlying mechanisms are complex and not yet fully understood. It often requires a multidisciplinary approach to address both the physical and psychological aspects of the condition.

4. How can brain activity help predict and measure chronic pain waves?

Research suggests that analyzing neural activity in specific brain regions can provide insights into the intensity and duration of chronic pain. This information can help develop more effective treatment strategies tailored to individual patients.

5. What are the implications of these studies for chronic pain sufferers?

These studies offer hope and potential new avenues for managing chronic pain. They highlight the importance of incorporating exercise and lifestyle interventions into pain management strategies, as well as the need for further research to better understand and target chronic pain at the neurological level.


(DownToEarth- https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/health/exercise-linked-to-higher-pain-tolerance-study-89630)

self caresciencepsychologymental healthhumanityhow tohealthfitnessbodyathletics

About the Creator

satish Kumar

Content Strategist, YouTuber, Website Developer & SEO Analyst: Dedicated to Constant Skill Growth

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