Exercise can increase your pain tolerance
Written by Cara Murez
Health Day reporter
THURSDAY, May 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) — One possible solution to reducing chronic pain: Get moving.
Physically active people tolerate pain better than sedentary types, according to a new Norwegian study. Those with higher activity levels had better pain tolerance, according to the report, published online May 24 PLOS ONE.
“Becoming or staying physically active over time can improve pain tolerance. Whatever you do, the most important thing is that you do something,” said study author Anders Årnes, a PhD student at the University Hospital of Northern Norway, and colleagues in a journal.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 10,000 adults who participated in a large population survey conducted regularly in Norway.
Using the data from the two rounds of the research – from 2007 to 2008 and from 2015 to 2016 – the researchers examined the participants’ self-reported physical activity level and pain tolerance. Pain tolerance was tested by immersing one hand in cold water.
Those who were physically active in either round of the study had better pain tolerance than those who reported a sedentary lifestyle in both rounds.
Additionally, participants with higher overall activity levels had better pain tolerance. The results showed that those who had more activity in the second round than in the first round had a higher pain tolerance.
The researchers found no statistically significant relationship between changes in activity level and pain tolerance between the two rounds of the study.
However, they said the results suggest that staying physically active, getting active or increasing activity is associated with greater pain tolerance.
Increasing physical activity may be a potential strategy to alleviate or eliminate chronic pain, the study authors suggested.
Future research may help confirm whether there is indeed a causal relationship between activity and pain.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covers more about the benefits of physical activity.
SOURCE: PLOS ONEpress release, May 25, 2023