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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Dec 2023 - 29 Dec 2023

2023 Nov 29





Aerobic Exercise and Neuropathic Pain: Insights from Animal Models and Implications for Human Therapy.


Ruimonte-Crespo J, Plaza-Manzano G, Díaz-Arribas MJ, Navarro-Santana MJ, López-Marcos JJ, Fabero-Garrido R, Seijas-Fernández T, Valera-Calero JA


This narrative review explores the complex relationship between aerobic exercise (AE) and neuropathic pain (NP), particularly focusing on peripheral neuropathies of mechanical origin. Pain, a multifaceted phenomenon, significantly impacts functionality and distress. The International Association for the Study of Pain’s definition highlights pain’s biopsychosocial nature, emphasizing the importance of patient articulation. Neuropathic pain, arising from various underlying processes, presents unique challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Our methodology involved a comprehensive literature search in the PubMed and SCOPUS databases, focusing on studies relating AE to NP, specifically in peripheral neuropathies caused by mechanical forces. The search yielded 28 articles and 1 book, primarily animal model studies, providing insights into the efficacy of AE in NP management. Results from animal models demonstrate that AE, particularly in forms like no-incline treadmill and swimming, effectively reduces mechanical allodynia and thermal hypersensitivity associated with NP. AE influences neurophysiological mechanisms underlying NP, modulating neurotrophins, cytokines, and glial cell activity. These findings suggest AE’s potential in attenuating neurophysiological alterations in NP. However, human model studies are scarce, limiting the direct extrapolation of these findings to human neuropathic conditions. The few available studies indicate AE’s potential benefits in peripheral NP, but a lack of specificity in these studies necessitates further research. In conclusion, while animal models show promising results regarding AE’s role in mitigating NP symptoms and influencing underlying neurophysiological mechanisms, more human-centric research is required. This review underscores the need for targeted clinical trials to fully understand and harness AE’s therapeutic potential in human neuropathic pain, especially of mechanical origin.