Isometric exercises reduce temporal summation of pain
It is known that exercise can alter the body’s response to pain. The phenomenon of a decrease in pain sensitivity during and following exercise has been referred to as exercise-induced hypoalgesia (EIH). Little is known about the effects of aerobic and isometric exercise on central mechanisms such as temporal summation.
A total of 136 participants took part in this study with two randomized experiments. Pain pressure thresholds (PPT) and Temporal summation of pain (TSP) were assessed before and after bicycling and a non-exercise condition, and low-and high intensity bicycling and low and high intensity isometric exercises of the arm and leg.
Bicycling, but not the non-exercise condition, slightly increased PTT when assessed at the leg. In experiment 2, isometric arm and leg exercises increased PTT and reduced VAS. No systematic differences were found between the low and high intensity exercises.Future studies should investigate the effect of different exercise conditions on pressure pain induced temporal summation in different chronic pain conditions. The study shows the potential for aerobic and isometric exercises as a rehabilitation procedure targeting central mechanisms.
> From: Vaegter et al., Eur J Pain (2014) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to European Pain Federation - EFIC. Click here for the Pubmed summary.