Influence of exercise on pain is associated with resting-state functional connections: A cross-sectional functional brain imaging study

Kenta Wakaizumi, Diane Reckziegel, Rami Jabakhanji, A. Vania Apkarian, Marwan N. Baliki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Exercise is associated with lower prevalence and severity of pain, and is widely recommended for pain management. However, the mechanisms the exercise effect on pain remain unclear. In this study, we examined the association of exercise with pain and aimed to identify its neurobiological mediators. We utilized a baseline data of a clinical trial for people with low back pain. Participants reported pain intensity and exercise habit, as well as pain-related psychological and emotional assessments. We also obtained brain imaging data using a resting-state functional MRI and performed mediation analyses to identify brain regions mediating the exercise effect on pain. Forty-five people with low back pain (mean pain intensity = 59.6 and mean duration = 9.9 weeks) were included in this study. Participants with an exercise habit (n = 29) showed significant less pain compared to those without an exercise habit (n = 16). Mediation analysis using resting-state functional connectivity identified the left thalamus, right amygdala, and medial prefrontal cortex as statistical mediators of the exercise effect on pain (indirect effect = −0.460, 95% confidence interval = −0.767 to −0.153). In conclusion, our findings suggest that brain function of the specific regions is probably a neuro-mechanism of exercise alleviating pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100125
JournalNeurobiology of Pain
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 1

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Exercise habit
  • Low back pain
  • Medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC)
  • Mediation analysis
  • Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI)
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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