Athletic Competition Masks Pain for Participants

Feb. 26, 2001 — Ever ponder how those proficient football players can be pulverized, crunched, crushed, and crashed — and hop right up once more? Or why the bone-crunching, body-slamming activities of XFL wrestlers don’t seem to matter much?

Scientists call it “athletic competition-induced analgesia,” which is truly fair heartlessness to pain during periods of mental or physical stress.

Researchers are shedding light on the phenomenon and are learning some fascinating things in the prepare. The most recent findings show that not only do certain types of athletic exercises actuate this natural pain-free state, but that men and women may encounter different levels of torment relief amid diverse occasions.

“This consider shows how men and women are diverse — from the natural angle to the chemical to the endocrine to the hormonal,” John F. Dombrowski, MD, executive of pain pharmaceutical at Sibley Memorial Healing center in Washington, tells WebMD. “Here’s another prime case of how differently we’re put together.” Dombrowski could be a diplomate of the American Board of Torment Medicine.

Wendy F. Sternberg, PhD, and her inquire about team at Haverford College in Haverford, Dad., looked at different situations that can make people numb to pain. In their investigation, published in the February issue of The Journal of Torment, Sternberg considered both men and ladies, competitors and nonathletes, to check their pain response after work out in both competitive and noncompetitive circumstances.

To reach their conclusions, researchers pitted two subjects against each other in a competitive, auto-racing video diversion. The think about included both guys and females who detailed their pain level after the game. In another segment of the think about, men and women appraised their torment after running on a treadmill — a noncompetitive event.

Sternberg found that the video diversion delivered analgesia — but only in the guys. And treadmill running delivered an pain relieving state, but only in the women.

“We translated these discoveries to cruel that … guys ended up analgesic from interpersonal competition not from work out, and females ended up pain relieving from work out but not from interpersonal competition,” Sternberg tells WebMD. “Both men and ladies involvement athletic competition-induced absense of pain, but the source of the stretch related with the competition is diverse.”

Sternberg is speedy to point out that stress as a entirety is both a mental and physical occasion, but what triggers the occasion can be two diverse things. “I’m not saying that the stress within the female is physical and the stretch within the male is mental — that’s the off-base kind of separation,” she included.

“The consider proposes that when athletes are injured amid an athletic competition, their self-reported pain might not be totally exact,” Sternberg says. “It’s common, particularly in for-profit wear, for athletes to play through pain, and whatever pain they involvement is overlooked.”

With tongue in cheek, Dombrowski says: “I figure men just can’t appear to induce out of the wilderness. We’re continuously competing, especially against another male.”

On a more genuine note, he includes, “It’s critical to remember that ladies can be competitive, and men don’t always got to have a one-on-one competition with another man to get the discharge of these endorphins.”

“These conclusions are very preliminary at this point,” Sternberg says, “and are limited to one frame of exercise and one form of competition.”

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