Pain has been the central point of the work I have always done. Whether I have provided relief with my hands, my taping or even my advice, I have always been fascinated by how we both experience pain and how to best treat those who have it. In the course of my daily readings, I came across a research study that was curious in its findings, to say the least.
In the world of pain management, there is a term known as exercise induced hypoalgesia or EIH. Exercise is well-known to suppress pain sensitivity. Exercise may have no effect on some kinds of pain, or even cause a setback at times too.
This study tested the effects of two kinds of exercise on 21 patients who suffered from chronic pain after whiplash. They compared 30 minutes of cycling to 30 minutes of wall sits. Their findings were actually very surprising.
The 30 minutes of cycling had no effect at all. Surprisingly, it didn’t make it worse considering the neck being in hyperextension. Alas, no change positively or negatively.
The 30 minutes of walls sits proved to help these patients. Clenching their leg muscles didn’t just help their neck. After the exercise, pain sensitivity was reduced far from the area as well. This is what is known as a systemic effect.
The study concluded that chronic pain problems may be helped by an “exercise program directed at non-painful muscles performing isometric exercises.”
So, if you’re having some type of chronic or nagging pain, try doing a brief 30-60 seconds of wall sits. The isometric contractions may prove to be the EIH or exercise induced hypoalgesia your body is seeking.