June 8, 2023


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Increased physical activity leads to a higher pain threshold – NRK Troms, Finnmark

– You don’t have to be an elite athlete to have the effect of activity, any increase in activity level gives you more pain tolerance, says Anders Årnes.

A PhD student at the Norwegian Arctic University (UiT) writes with colleagues about the study UiT.

To find the relationship between physical activity and pain tolerance, data from 10,732 adults who participated in the population-based Tromsøsurvey study were analysed.

Anders Årnes, a research fellow at the Norwegian UiT Arctic University and the Department of Pain at UNN

Photo: Edvard Kristiansen/UiT

The results showed that those who were physically active were more tolerant of pain than those who were not exercising.

To test pain tolerance, participants had to immerse their hands in 3°C ice water. They also had to report their level of physical activity.

– the most active has a tolerance of about 20 seconds higher than the least active; Arnis says there’s a big difference.

The findings also suggest that increasing physical activity may be a possible strategy for relieving or preventing chronic pain. But more research is needed here.

Pain tolerance is tested by immersing the hand in ice water.  Tromsø Survey

Pain tolerance is tested by immersing the hand in ice water.

Photo: Stena Grunbech/Tromsunderchokelsen

Both animal studies and experimental human trials have shown that increased physical activity can increase pain tolerance and prevent and improve chronic pain. The results of this study and others we’ve conducted suggest that this may be the case across an entire population, rather than just in a small, carefully selected population without other aggravating factors, the researcher says.

The results are clear.

Becoming or maintaining physical activity over time can help you manage your pain. Whatever you do, the most important thing is to do something, Arness says.

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