Exercise could improve pain tolerance

  • 2 Min To Read
  • a year ago

A recent study published in the journal PLOS One has found that adults who lead a physically active lifestyle have a higher pain tolerance compared to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. The study, which evaluated the data of more than 10,000 adults who had participated in a Norwegian population survey study, found that pain tolerance increased with higher levels of physical activity. The researchers evaluated the participants’ levels of pain tolerance by making them put their hands up to their wrists submersed inside a 13-liters vat filled with cold water. The study also found that those who suffer from chronic pain experienced some pain relief after becoming physically active, which is similar to previous studies.

The prevalence of high-impact chronic pain (pain that lasts for three months or longer) in the United States of America is 6.4% or 50 million adults in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The leading causes of chronic pain are rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, stomach ulcers, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and gallbladder diseases. Chronic pain is more common among women, those living in poverty or non-metropolitan areas, and older adults.

The researchers conclude that “becoming or staying physically active over time can benefit your pain tolerance. Whatever you do, the most important thing is that you do something.” However, aging can interfere with the positive association between being physically active and having higher pain tolerance. Treatment for chronic pain still remains largely inaccessible, particularly for lower socioeconomic groups and other marginalized patients.


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