The Role of Exercise in Pain Perception

Essay by mattsemUniversity, Bachelor's August 2014

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The Role of Exercise in Pain Perception

Mehrdad Semsarilar

Charles Sturt University


It has been found that pain sensitivity alters following exercise. A study was carried out among university students to determine whether exercise affects pain perception. Cold pressure test conducted on each of 20 participants before exercise and 5 minutes after 10 minutes of jogging. Results indicated that pain thresholds and pain tolerances were increased after exercise, which is a support for hypoalgesic effect of exercise. Further research is needed to clarify what intensity and duration of exercise is required to produce hypoalgesia in a variety of exercise modes.

The Role of Exercise in Pain Perception

"Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage" (Merskey & Bogduk, 1994). According to Liebeskind (1991), pain is a universal phenomenon that can have a detrimental effect on mobility, sleeping and eating patterns, personal relationships, immune system, overall functional status and psychological well-being, and it has also been the most common reason for medical appointments.

Pain is a complex, multidimensional perception that varies in quality, duration and strength (McGrath, 1994). Pain is a subjective symptom that cannot be objectively measured in the way that blood pressure or heart rate can be measured (Strong, Unruh, Wright, & Baxter, 2002). The definition of pain highlights the duality of pain experience and suggests that the perception of pain and how a person report pain is influenced by physiological and psychological factors; however, our understanding of pain and how it perceived by different people is still limited and more research need to be conducted in this field since pain evaluation and pain relief are important goals for the...