Leisure Time Exercise May Increase Pain Tolerance

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The main takeaway is that engaging in habitual physical activity in leisure-time is associated with higher pain tolerance; any kind of activity over time is better than being sedentary.

Secondly, there were indications that both total amount of physical activity over time, as well as the direction of change in activity level over time matters to how high your pain tolerance is. As an observational study, this points towards the possibility that increased physical activity might increase pain tolerance.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We’re currently working with a follow-up study showing how this effect on pain tolerance indirectly influences our risk of chronic pain. Hope to have it published this summer. Furthermore, it would be worthwhile to intervene on physical activity level in a controlled setting to create a gain in pain tolerance, and follow participants prospectively to assess subsequent risk of chronic pain.

PainRelief.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response:  Only that I believe the most important thing is to do something rather than nothing at all – you don’t need to be a top-tier athlete to enjoy substantial benefits of being active. Find something you enjoy doing and have fun.


Longitudinal relationships between habitual physical activity and pain tolerance in the general population

Anders Pedersen Årnes  , Christopher Sievert Nielsen ,Audun Stubhaug ,Mats Kirkeby Fjeld,Aslak Johansen,Bente Morseth ,Bjørn Heine Strand ,Tom Wilsgaard ,Ólöf Anna Steingrímsdóttir 

Published: May 24, 2023


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Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by PainRelief.com