Perception of pain following aerobic exercise

Kelli F. Koltyn, Ann Wertz Garvin, R. Lee Gardiner, Toben F. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


The literature regarding the effect of exercise on pain is equivocal. The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the influence of an acute bout of exercise on pain threshold (PT) and pain ratings (PR). A secondary purpose was to measure heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and state anxiety (SA) responses. Pressure (3000-g force) was applied to the middle digit of the right forefinger for 2 min with the Forgione-Barber pain stimulator before and following (5 min and 15 min) exercise and quiet rest. Exercise consisted of 30 min of cycling at 75% V̇O(2max). Quiet rest consisted of sitting quietly for 30 min in a sound-dampened chamber. Order was counterbalanced, randomly assigned, and performed on different days. Data were analyzed with a repeated measures ANOVA for multifactor experiments. PT was significantly higher (P < 0.05) and PR were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in the exercise condition 5 min post- exercise in comparison with quiet rest. Changes in pain perception were accompanied by lower SBP (P < 0.03) and higher HR (P < 0.0001), in the exercise condition. It is concluded that an acute bout of exercise is associated with changes in pain perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1418-1421
Number of pages4
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996




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