Sports are a drug for pain

“Sports are a pain drug”: Scientists confirm that physically active people have a higher tolerance for pain. A new study at the University Hospital of Northern Norway found that pain tolerance increases with the amount of exercise. These results could be a potential treatment strategy for chronic pain.

The study

The study involved more than 10,000 adults in Norway, who were surveyed in two rounds: from 2007 to 2008 and from 2015 to 2016. Participants reported their level of physical activity and also took pain tolerance tests, such as dipping their hand into cold water.


The study found that people who were physically active had a higher tolerance for pain compared to those who had a sedentary lifestyle. Pain tolerance increased with the amount of exercise. Statistically significant results were observed in both rounds of surveys.

It is important to note that the researchers cannot say exactly how sports are related to pain tolerance, as their work revealed only a correlation, not a causal relationship. However, additional research and understanding of the mechanism may lead to the development of treatments for chronic pain.


The scientists also note that their results may be a good motivator to start exercising. After all, not only do they help maintain physical fitness, but they also increase tolerance to pain.

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