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Stress Management Helps to Address Chronic Pain

Posted Mar 21 2013 10:09pm
Posted on March 18, 2013, 6 a.m. in Pain Management Stress

Some evidence suggests that chronic pain could be partly maintained by maladaptive physiological responses when faced with a recurrent stressor. Etienne Vachon-Presseau, from the University of Montreal (Canada), and colleagues examined the associations between basal levels of cortisol – an adrenal hormone associated with the stress response – collected over seven consecutive days, the hippocampal volumes and brain activation to thermal stimulations administered in 16 patients with chronic back pain and 18 healthy control subjects. Data analysis revealed that patients with a smaller hippocampus have higher cortisol levels and stronger responses to acute pain in a brain region involved in anticipatory anxiety in relation to pain. The response of the brain to the painful procedure during the scan partly reflected the intensity of the patient's current clinical pain condition. These findings support the chronic pain vulnerability model in which people with a smaller hippocampus develop a stronger stress response, which in turn increases their pain and perhaps their risk of suffering from chronic pain.  The study authors conclude that: “These findings support a stress model of chronic pain suggesting that the sustained endocrine stress response observed in individuals with a smaller hippocampii induces changes in the function of the hippocampal complex that may contribute to the persistent pain states.”

Etienne Vachon-Presseau, Mathieu Roy, Marc-Olivier Martel, Etienne Caron, Marie-France Marin, Pierre Rainville, et al.  “The stress model of chronic pain: evidence from basal cortisol and hippocampal structure and function in humans.”  Brain (2013) 136(3): 815-827.

  
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Anti-Aging Forum MLDP Join A4M
Tip #138 - Unlock the Genetics of Longevity
Telomeres are the endcaps on chromosomes, and telomeric shortening is thought to govern the number of times a cell can divide. In white blood cells (leukocytes), telomere shortening is used as a marker of biological age. King’s College London (United Kingdom) researchers studied 2,401 twins, tracking their physical activity level, lifestyle habits, and examined the length of the telomeres in the subjects’ white blood cells (leukocytes).The team confirmed that telomere length decreased with age; men and women who were less physically active in their leisure time had shorter leukocyte telomeres than those who were more active. The mean difference in leukocyte telomere length between the most active subjects (who performed an average of 199 minutes of physical activity per week) versus the least active subjects (16 minutes of physical activity per week) was 200 nucleotides. This translated to mean that “the most active subjects had telomeres the same length as sedentary individuals up to 10 years younger, on average.”

Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. Men and women ages 18 to 64 years need at least:

• 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week; and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

OR:
• 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week; and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

OR:
• An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Not only is it best to spread your activity out during the week, but you can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. As long as you're doing your activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time. Consult an anti-aging physician to construct a regimen that is appropriate for your medical needs.
 
 
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