New findings published in The Journal of Pain show that moderate and high levels of exercise can help people suffering from pain. Chronic pain, which affects millions of Americans, leads to increased health care costs, lost productivity, and emotional and financial costs to those who suffer from it. While there are medications to treat chronic pain, few are effective and some may lead to drug addiction and abuse. Exercise has long been suggested to people with chronic pain as an alternative to medication, but the amount of exercise needed to see a benefit is unclear.
In a recent study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, participants were asked to walk for thirty minutes on a treadmill either three, five, or ten times a week during a one-week period. Researchers tested participants’ reactions to painful heat and pressure stimulation before and after the exercise interventions, and found that those who exercised five or ten times per week had significant reductions in pain after completing the exercise program. Surprisingly, those who exercised five times per week had the best results, suggesting that moderate exercise may be the best option for treating pain.
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