Pain can be a debilitating experience that impacts your ability to engage in the activities that are meaningful to you and make the demands of daily life harder than they need to be. If you are struggling with pain in your daily life in Kamloops, you should consider adding exercise to your weekly routine by working with a Kamloops Physiotherapist. Exercise has been known to have a myriad of benefits for our physical and mental health, from improving cardiovascular health to reducing stress and anxiety. One benefit of exercise that is often overlooked is its ability to reduce pain. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or just the occasional ache, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can be an effective way to manage pain.
In fact, a review of 54 studies including almost 10,000 participants found that oral pain medication and exercise had the same effect on pain reduction in people with knee osteoarthritis (1). Another study including over 36,000 students aged 18-35 years old found that chronic pain (pain lasting longer than three months) was present in over 50% of the students (2). They found that there was an inverse relationship between the amount of exercise and the amount of chronic pain (2). In other words, the more frequent, the more intense and the longer duration of exercise, the less likely the students were to have chronic pain and the fewer locations in their bodies they tended to experience pain (2)
Exercise has been shown to reduce pain in a number of ways. One of the key mechanisms by which exercise reduces pain is by reducing pain sensitivity. Pain sensitivity refers to the degree to which we perceive pain in response to a given stimulus. In other words, some people may be more sensitive to pain than others. This can be due to a number of factors, including genetics, age, and past experiences with pain.
Exercise can help reduce pain sensitivity in a number of ways. For one, exercise increases the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body. Endorphins are chemicals that are released in response to stress or pain, and they can help to reduce pain and induce feelings of pleasure and well-being. By increasing the production of endorphins, exercise can help to reduce pain sensitivity and make it easier to manage pain.
Another way that exercise reduces pain sensitivity is by increasing blood flow to the muscles and joints. This increased blood flow can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing, which can help to reduce pain and improve mobility. Additionally, exercise can help to strengthen the muscles and joints, which can help to provide better support and reduce the risk of injury.
In addition to reducing pain sensitivity, exercise can also help to reduce pain by improving our overall physical and mental health. Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which are often associated with pain.
Overall, exercise is a powerful tool for reducing pain and improving our overall health and well-being. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or just the occasional ache, incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help to reduce pain sensitivity, improve physical and mental health, and provide a range of other benefits. If you're not sure where to start, consider speaking with one of our Kamloops Physiotherapists at the Movement Mechanics to develop an exercise plan that is safe and effective for your individual needs and abilities.
- Henriksen M, Hansen JB, Klokker L, Bliddal H, Christensen R. Comparable effects of exercise and analgesics for pain secondary to knee osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of trials included in Cochrane systematic reviews. Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research. 2016 Jul;5(4):417-31.
- Grasdalsmoen M, Engdahl B, Fjeld MK, Steingrímsdóttir ÓA, Nielsen CS, Eriksen HR, Lønning KJ, Sivertsen B. Physical exercise and chronic pain in university students. PLoS One. 2020 Jun 26;15(6):e0235419.