Experimentally induced pain perception is acutely reduced by aerobic exercise in people with chronic low back pain

J Rehabil Res Dev. Mar-Apr 2005;42(2):183-90. doi: 10.1682/jrrd.2004.06.0065.


This study examined whether subjects with chronic low back pain demonstrate exercise-induced analgesia to experimentally induced pressure pain. We employed a repeated measures design to study eight subjects with chronic low back pain (mean +/- standard deviation age = 40 +/- 10, duration of pain = 7 +/- 4 years). Pain ratings were measured immediately before and 2 minutes and 32 minutes after 25 minutes of cycle ergometry (5 minutes at 50% peak oxygen uptake, then 20 minutes at 70% peak oxygen uptake). We based the pain ratings on subject input on a visual analog scale at 10-second intervals during the 2-minute pressure pain stimulus to the nondominant index finger. Compared with preexercise values, pain ratings were significantly (p < 0.05) decreased after exercise at both 2 and 32 minutes postexercise. We conclude that pressure pain perception can be reduced for more than 30 minutes following aerobic exercise from leg cycling among people with chronic low back pain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold