A new study published by the American College of Sports Medicine claims to be the first to link high-intensity aerobic exercise to a reduction in response to pain stimulus in adolescents of various weight status. The research implicates physical inactivity as a major contributor to the epidemic of obesity in teen populations, and to associated increases in pain. Lead author Stacy Stolzman, MPT, at the Department of Physical Therapy, Marquette University said “Unfortunately, pain is commonly overlooked as a health outcome, despite most obese youth reporting they currently feel pain.”
The Marquette University research team assessed 29 male and 33 female adolescents using pressure pain thresholds and pain questionnaires before and after quiet rest. Physical activity levels were measured using accelerometers and self-reports, while body composition was assessed via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. The team reported that exercise-induced hypoalgesia (EIH) was robust in adolescents of all weight classes. They suggest an expanded population sample with more distinct weight groups, saying “These results significantly add to the literature by providing much needed evidence in the prescription of therapeutic exercise as a pain management tool for adolescents of varying weight and fitness levels.” Read more about the study recommendations here. The study abstract may be read here.