Chronic Muscle Pain Conditions may Benefit from Long-term Exercise

Gulf War soldiers returning home are reporting chronic musculoskeletal pain similar to fibromyalgia and a study in the Journal of Pain reveals that acute exercise can exacerbate the pain, but long-term exercise can reduce it.

Gulf War soldiers returning home are reporting chronic musculoskeletal pain similar to fibromyalgia and a study in the Journal of Pain reveals that acute exercise can exacerbate the pain, but long-term exercise can reduce it, according to a press release.

The study was performed on Gulf War veterans by researchers from Middleton Memorial Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin. The team tested levels of experimental pain sensitivity in the veterans following acute exercise sessions. The hypothesis was that the veterans with CMP would report lower pain thresholds and higher pain intensity from experimental pain stimuli than healthy Gulf War veterans. The experiment included 32 veterans (15 with CMP).

The results demonstrated that the veterans with CMP claimed that heat induced pain stimuli was more intense and unpleasant than evidenced in healthy subjects. They also reported greater leg pain intensity during exercise and were more sensitive to pain stimuli following exercise compared to pre-exercise ratings. However, pain thresholds din not show significant differences between health subjects and CMP subjects.