Physical Activity and Pain

Neurobiological mechanisms

Authored by: Laura D. Ellingson , Dane B. Cook

Routledge Handbook of Physical Activity and Mental Health

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782999
eBook ISBN: 9780203132678
Adobe ISBN: 9781136477805


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This chapter is intended to introduce the reader to the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie pain perception and to discuss how exercise interacts with the central nervous system to both stimulate and decrease the experience of pain. The chapter is divided into four primary sections: the first provides a brief overview of the neurobiology of pain; the second and third discuss potential psychobiological mechanisms underlying the pain-inducing aspects of exercise; and the fourth addresses potential mechanisms, both opioid and non-opioid, that underlie the painrelieving aspects of exercise and physical activity.

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