Can we improve exercise-induced hypoalgesia with exercise training? An overview and suggestions for future studies

Jun Seob Song, Aldo Seffrin, Yujiro Yamada, Ryo Kataoka, William B. Hammert, Robert W. Spitz, Vickie Wong, Anna Kang, Jeremy P. Loenneke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exercise-induced hypoalgesia refers to a reduction in pain sensitivity following a single bout of exercise, which has been shown to be diminished or impaired with aging and chronic pain. Exercise training (repeated bouts of exercise over time) is often recommended as a non-pharmacological treatment for chronic pain and age-related functional declines. However, whether exercise training can augment the exercise-induced hypoalgesia has not been well studied. The purpose of this paper is to 1) provide an overview of the existing literature investigating the effect of exercise training on the magnitude of exercise-induced hypoalgesia, and 2) discuss potential underlying mechanisms as well as considerations for future research. Given the paucity of randomized controlled trials in this area, the effects of exercise training on exercise-induced hypoalgesia are still unclear. Several potential mechanisms have been proposed to explain the impaired exercise-induced hypoalgesia in chronic pain and older individuals (e.g., endogenous opioid, cardiovascular, and immune system). Exercise training appears to induce physiological changes in those systems, however, further investigations are necessary to test whether this will lead to improved exercise-induced hypoalgesia. Future research should consider including a time- and age-matched non-training group and utilizing the same exercise protocol for testing exercise-induced hypoalgesia across intervention groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

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