A Systematic Review of the Association Between Physical Activity and Pain Perception

Presenter: Laura DeLorenzo

Research Category: Health Sciences
College: Bouve College of Health Sciences
Major(s): Physical Therapy
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Brenda Yue, Ildiko Gaal, Raymond Zheng

Introduction: A systematic review on athletes’ pain perception in relation to normally active controls has not been published since 2011.

Aim: The purpose of this study is to review previously published articles on whether pain perception and pain tolerance is different between healthy athletes and non-athletes. This will act as an update on more recently published studies regarding the comparison of pain perception and pain tolerance between the two populations.

Methods: This review was performed using the Rayyan QCRI program to view the studies that fall within the criteria placed on the search throughout the databases. Based on the criteria, a list of 3,331 undecided studies was provided by Rayyan QCRI for the reviewers to include or exclude. Studies that didn’t have a unanimous vote were resolved by discussion with all the reviewers.

Results: After the double blind and discussion on conflicting articles, 16 articles were included. We selected studies that compared pain thresholds and pain tolerances in athletes/active individuals with normally active controls. Studies reviewed have a quantified pain threshold or pain tolerance using continuous variables or have provided sufficient information to recreate these values. Athletes were to be described as participating in competitions or training at least 3 hours per week. Athletes also must have been classified in at least one of the following sport types: endurance, game (including dance), or strength. Moreover, physically inactive sports were excluded from the review. These 16 articles fit the inclusion criteria.