Robin J. Shannon: Class of 2003

James L. Miller: Class of 2003

Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1

Health Sciences


Exercise-induced hypoalgesia is a well-established phenomenon in the literature. The underlying mechanisms responsible for this augmentation of pain perception are not completely understood. The specific mode and intensity of exercise that creates hypoalgesia remains equivocal. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify if any differences existed in the exercise-induced hypoalgesia of isometric gripping exercise (IGE) and treadmill exercise (TE). A repeated measures design was used to determine the differences in pain threshold between acute exposure to IGE and TE. Twelve healthy male volunteers served as our subjects. Subjects were tested on three different days under three different conditions (rest, IGE, TE). The order of the trials was randomized and applied force (AF) was used as the dependent variable. Applied force pain threshold (AFPT) was determined by a handheld dolorimeter used to apply progressive force and pain to the skin and muscles of the wrist flexors before and after exercise. Exercise induced hypoalgesia was found in both exercise conditions by comparing resting PPT values (6.23 ± 2.04) to those measured immediately after IGE (7.24 ± 1.61; p = 0.0058) or TE (8.03 ± 2.03; p = 0.0001). However, TE produced a larger (22.04 %) hypoanalgesic effect in comparison to isometric exercise (14.14 %). Both TE and IGE may have potential as methods of increasing one’s pressure pain threshold. Further investigation into the specific causes of exercise-induced hypoalgesia is warranted.