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The benefits of physical exercise in chronic pain
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05 November 2020

The benefits of physical exercise in chronic pain

The benefits of physical exercise in chronic pain

Pain is a subjective and individual perception; it is the way that our body finds to signal that something is wrong, thus being a vital element.


It’s called chronic pain, pain that lasts or recurs for more than 3 months or when it persists beyond the normal course of an acute illness or the healing of the injury that gave rise to it. It arises when there are changes in the processes of central and peripheral sensitization, increasing the perception of pain; in neuroplasticity processes, there may be an increase in pain transmission in the nervous system; when persistent activation of peripheral nociceptors appears. It can also occur due to genetic factors with regard to sensitivity and pain.



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Chronic pain affects 20% of people worldwide. It causes morbidity, disability and absenteeism, causing high costs to health systems, with a great impact on the life quality of the patient and the family.
The treatment of chronic pain must undergo an interdisciplinary and multimodal treatment, carried out by a multidisciplinary team.


Regarding physical exercise, depending on its intensity and duration, many benefits can be seen. Among them we highlight:


Neuromodulatory effect - acting through multiple signaling pathways (neuroimmunohormonal, metabolic, mechanical, etc.). Physical exercise, in its various modalities, has a broad neuromodulatory effect, including the modification of inhibitory and facilitating mechanisms of pain.


Hypoalgesia - decreased pain sensitivity, increased pain threshold and reduced pain perception (due to the repercussions on endogenous mechanisms of inhibition and facilitation of nociceptive transmission).


Influences the Central Nervous System (CNS) - potentiates the release of neurotransmitters (eg. dopamine, serotonin) and neurotrophic factors in the brain and spinal cord; stimulates cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the CNS; promotes anti-inflammatory action; helps in the management of physical and psychological stress.


Improved physical condition - increasing strength, endurance and flexibility, improving function in daily and work activities, mental health and quality of life.


The physical exercise professional helps people with chronic pain to develop skills and strategies to manage and take control of their situation and improve their physical condition, increasing their quality of life. What are you waiting for to start training?


By Susana Marques, Personal Trainer at Academia Bodylab


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References:

Souza J., Can exercise induce analgesia in patients with chronic pain? Rev Bras Med Esporte vol.15 no.2 Niterói Mar./Apr. 2009
A Revised Definition of Pain: IASP Revises Its Definition for the First Time Since 1979. REVISED DEFINITION OF PAIN TRANSLATIONS (2020) www.iasp-pain.org

Oliveira M; Fernandes R; Daher S. Impacto del ejercicio sobre el dolor crónico. Rev Bras Med Esporte vol.20 no.3 São Paulo May/June 2014

Willer JC, Bouhassira D, Le Bars D. Neurophysiological bases of the counterirritation phenomenon: diffuse control inhibitors induced by nociceptive stimulation. Neurophysiol Clin. 1999.

Koltyn K., Brellenthin A., Cook D., Sehgal N. e Hillard C. Mechanisms of Exercise-Induced Hypoalgesia J Pain. 2014 Dec.

Geneen L.; Moore R.; Clarke C.; Martin D.; Colvin L.; Smith B. Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an Overview of Cochrane Reviews - Version published: 24 April 2017