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Exercise-induced hypoalgesia (EIH) has been found to vary widely within individuals with chronic neck pain (NP). Research has suggested that the presence of central sensitization within a subgroup of individuals with chronic NP might be a mediating factor to explain the relationship between exercise and improvements in patient-reported outcomes. Furthermore, recent work has found that lactate might play a role in the development and maintenance of chronic pain. The immediate effect of a single bout of physical exercise on central sensitization in individuals with chronic NP and the relationship between lactate concentration, central sensitization and pain sensitivity are to be investigated. Eighty adult participants with chronic NP will be recruited for this randomized crossover trial. Outcome measures, including temporal summation, conditioned pain modulation, EIH and lactate concentration, will be assessed before and after low- and high-intensity bicycling exercise. The outcomes of this study will provide new insights into the mechanistic effect of exercise on central sensitization in individuals with chronic NP and have the potential to add important information to the current exercise prescription guidelines for individuals with chronic NP. This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee, The University of Adelaide (H-2022-082) and registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12622000642785p). © 2023 The Authors. Experimental Physiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Physiological Society.


Kexun Kenneth Chen, Mark Rowland Hutchinson, Paul Rolan, Rutger Marinus Johannes de Zoete. Effect of exercise on chronic neck pain and central sensitization: A protocol for a randomized crossover trial. Experimental physiology. 2023 May;108(5):672-682

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PMID: 36989062

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