Physical activity for chronic pain: review of the evidence is published
Exercise and physical activity programmes are increasingly being promoted as a way of treating chronic pain conditions, but what does the evidence show?
Leading experts have now reviewed the research to see if physical activity does actually make a difference, and if it is safe.
The 21 studies they included involved over 37,000 people. The pain conditions included rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, intermittent claudication, dysmenorrhoea, mechanical neck disorder, spinal cord injury, postpolio syndrome, and patellofemoral pain.
They found that the quality of the evidence examining physical activity and exercise for chronic pain is low, mainly because of small sample sizes and short follow-up time periods, so it is hard to draw firm conclusions. However “the available evidence suggests physical activity and exercise is an intervention with few adverse events that may improve pain severity and physical function, and consequent quality of life,” the team concludes.
More research should focus on increasing participant numbers, including participants with a broader spectrum of pain severity, and lengthening both the intervention itself, and the follow-up period.
Click here to read the original research.
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