Exercise and Pain

I often see people who, in fear of making their pain worse, reduce their daily movement or stop exercising all together. This can contribute to a downward spiral of increased disability, pain and fear of movement.

Tony Miller, M.Ost


exercise is known to have pain killing effects, the scientific term for this is ‘Exercise Induced Hypoalgesia’. Hypoalgesia = reduced sensitivity to pain causing stimuli.

In conditions such as knee and hip osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, whiplash and chronic low back pain, cardiovascular exercise and resistance exercise of muscle groups distant from the location of the pain have been shown to help give relief.

For example:
Cycling helped reduce chronic low back pain
Lower body resistance exercise decreased whiplash associated pain

This affect varies between individuals and different types of pain, with certain types of exercise increasing pain in some conditions. However, we can normally find a way to get you moving again, breaking that downward spiral of increased physical disability and pain.

If you have pain I encourage you to keep trying different exercise until you find a type that doesn’t provoke your symptoms, whether that’s going for a bike ride to help with your back ache or going for a walk to help your shoulder pain.