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How Running Can Relieve Pain

Submitted by Jeremy Chin
Posted on 23 Mar, 2016

How Running Can Relieve Pain
In the past, it was a common thing for doctors to prescribe bed rest for back pain and other chronic pain conditions, but studies have found that activities like running, as much as they can sometimes hurts, can also relieve pain.

With chronic pain, your pain threshold drops -- in other words, it takes less pain to make you feel more uncomfortable. With pain inducing exercises like running, you can improve that pain threshold. This makes sense, because an important part of the training process is learning to tolerate discomfort.

A deeper look into this area of pain management takes us into the concept of conditioned pain modulation, a situation where pain is introduced into the body so that it becomes numb to it. In a nutshell, conditioned pain modulation is the concept that pain inhibits pain. Essentially, it has been discovered that in order to deal with your initial bout of pain, your central nervous system reduces its pain reception sensitivity.

Another benefit of running for pain relief comes from the chemicals that are released during the activity: endorphins, an opiod that works like morphine, and endocannabinoids, which functions like cannabis for the brain. Both chemicals have been found to contribute to pain suppression, such as presented from a Brazillian study conducted in 2014 that discovered that endocannabinoids produced exercise-induced analgesia in mice.

With chronic pain comes a reduced quality of life. Running can dramatically improve that quality of life again. In many cases, there’s no reason to be sitting around the house in pain.

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