A study presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine Annual Meeting touts the long-term and immediate benefits of physical conditioning to alleviate chronic pain. Dr. Amy M. Burleson, the study’s lead investigator, stated, “People with chronic pain don’t want to exercise — the main reason is that they are in so much pain, we were hoping this [study] would show people how important exercise is.”
The study aimed to determine the effect of a 3-week aerobic training program on physical conditioning and to assess the acute effects of a brief, 10-minute exercise protocol on pain, mood, and perceived exertion. The final sample of 28 patients, lowered from 54 due to factors such as lack of motivation to exercise and fear of exercise, had an immediate belief change about exercise upon starting the program.
Decreases in pain, depression, and anxiety during a long-term exercise program are well documented, this study tried primarily to see the immediate effects. Measures of heart rate, mood, pain, and perceived exertion were obtained. On average, patients received 5 hours of conditioning per week, in addition to routine daily activities. Results showed significant long and short term benefits including heart rate, improvement of depression, and improvement of anxiety symptoms. Researchers are hoping to further this study for short-term analgesic benefits.