(Golden Oldie) Should exercises be painful in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Review written by Todd Hargrove info

Key Points

  1. Exercise is a commonly used treatment strategy for those with chronic musculoskeletal pain, however it is unknown whether exercise should be painful or pain-free for this population.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a highly prevalent and costly issue globally. Exercise is a commonly used treatment strategy for chronic pain. Some exercise protocols encourage clients to avoid pain during exercise, while others allow pain or even encourage pain during exercise.

No prior systematic reviews have examined the effectiveness of exercising into pain for those with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis summarized the results of randomized controlled trials that compared exercising into pain versus pain-free exercise.

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a highly prevalent and costly issue globally.
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Experiencing pain during exercise should not be considered a barrier to successful outcomes.

METHODS

Studies were eligible for inclusion in the systematic review and meta-analysis if they involved treatment of musculoskeletal pain lasting longer than 3 months, and compared a group of participants who exercised pain-free to a group who were allowed or encouraged

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