Sumary of Back pain: why exercise can provide relief – and how to do it safely:
- Why physical activity works Although exercise and physical activity are widely recommended for people in pain, researchers are still examining how and why it works, and what dose is best for pain relief.
- In research on pain-free adults, a single bout of high-intensity aerobic exercise (such as cycling or running for 15 minutes) is able to trigger these pain relief effects for approximately 30 minutes afterwards.
- These pain-relieving effects are underpinned by several interacting mechanisms – most notably the release of the body’s naturally-produced pain relief agents, such as endocannabinoids, adrenaline, noradrenaline, endorphins and serotonin – within the nervous system and via the circulatory system.
- Rido/ Shutterstock Another key mechanism thought to be involved in exercise-induced hypoalgesia involves the formation of new and helpful connections within the nervous system, a process called neuroplasticity.
- While the search to establish the exact mechanisms that underpin exercise-induced hypoalgesia continue, the good news is that exercising even despite pain helps to activate these pain-relieving effects.