Consistent pattern between physical activity measures and chronic pain levels: the Tromsø Study 2015-2016 - Nasjonalt senter for aldring og helse

Pain, 2022

Consistent pattern between physical activity measures and chronic pain levels: the Tromsø Study 2015-2016

Abstract
Epidemiological literature on the relationship between physical activity and chronic pain is scarce and inconsistent. Hence, our aim was to assess the relationship applying comprehensive methodology, including self-reported and accelerometer measures of physical activity and different severity levels of chronic pain. We used data from the Tromsø Study (2015-2016). All residents in the municipality, aged 40 years and older were invited to participate (n=32,591, 51% women). A total of 21,083 (53% women) reported on questionnaires. Additionally, 6,778 participants (54% women) were invited to wear accelerometers (6,125 with complete measurements). Our exposure measures were self-reported leisure time physical activity, exercise frequency, duration and intensity and two accelerometer-measures (steps per day and minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day). Outcome measurements were chronic pain and moderate-to-severe chronic pain. We used Poisson regression to estimate chronic pain prevalence and prevalence ratios for each physical activity measure, with adjustments for sex, age, education level, smoking history, and occupational physical activity. Our main analyses showed an inverse dose-response relationships between all physical activity measures and both severity measures of chronic pain, except that the dose-response relationship with exercise duration was only found for moderate-to-severe pain. All findings were stronger for the moderate-to-severe pain outcomes than for chronic pain. Robustness analyses gave similar results as the main analyses. We conclude that an inverse dose-response association between physical activity and chronic pain is consistent across measures. To summarize, higher levels of physical activity is associated with less chronic pain and moderate-to-severe chronic pain.

Forfatter(e)

Mats Kirkeby Fjeld, Anders Pedersen Årnes, Bo Engdahl, Bente Morseth, Laila Arnesdatter Hopstock, Alexander Horsch, Audun Stubhaug, Bjørn Heine Strand, Christopher Sivert Nielsen, Ólöf Anna Steingrímsdóttir

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