Exercise for Gulf War Veterans with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

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Exercise for Gulf War Veterans with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Below is the news article about this finding followed by the information taken concerning the study itself.  We need to hear from the gulf war veterans that are ill that did not participate in this study in the comments section following this article.  Questions to address how are you dealing with exercise now since the war?  Are you able to exercise?  What is the result for you? 

What diet have you found that helps?  Have you had trouble with weight gain or loss?

What have you found as ill gulf war veterans that has helped?

What research studies have you participated in that helped you?

 Long-Term Exercise Can Reduce Vets’ Muscle Pain
A bout of exercise can worsen the aches of American military veterans suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain, a small new study shows,

But researchers say that it’s only temporary.

Long-term exercise, they stress, can help reduce veterans’ chronic pain.

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About 100,000 veterans from the first Gulf War war have reported chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) similar to fibromyalgia. The researchers used heat to test the pain sensitivity of 15 Gulf War veterans with CMP and 17 healthy veterans of that war after a workout. Compared to the healthy participants, veterans with CMP found the heat stimuli to be more intense and unpleasant.

The vets with CMP also reported more intense leg pain during exercise and were more sensitive to the heat stimuli after the bout of exercise than they were before it. However, there were no significant differences in the pain threshold between vets with CMP and healthy vets.

Previous research has found that chronic (long-term) exercise can help reduce chronic muscle pain, noted the researchers, who worked at Middleton Memorial Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin.

Doctors need to encourage regular exercise for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain in order to prevent disability, even though the early stages of an exercise program may cause increased pain for a short time, according to the researchers.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Pain.

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

J Pain. 2010 Aug;11(8):764-72. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Exercise alters pain sensitivity in Gulf War veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Cook DB, Stegner AJ, Ellingson LD.

New Jersey War Related Injury and Illness Study Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, East Orange, New Jersey, USA. [email protected]

Abstract
Since returning from the Persian Gulf, nearly 100,000 veterans of the first Gulf War (GVs) have reported numerous symptoms with no apparent medical explanation. A primary complaint of these individuals is chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP). CMP symptoms in GVs are similar to those reported by patients with fibromyalgia (FM), but have not received equivalent scientific attention. Exercise research in CMP patients suggests that acute exercise may exacerbate pain while chronic exercise can reduce pain and improve other symptoms. However, the influence of exercise on GVs with CMP is largely unexplored. This study examined the impact of an acute bout of exercise on pain sensitivity in GVs with CMP. Thirty-two GVs (CMP, n = 15; Control, n = 17) were recruited to complete a series of psychophysical assessments to determine pain sensitivity to heat and pressure stimuli before and after exercise. In response to heat-pain stimuli, GVs with CMP reported higher pain intensity and affect ratings than healthy GVs and exhibited a significant increase in ratings following exercise. GVs with CMP rated exercise as more painful and effortful and were generally more sensitive to heat-pain stimuli than healthy GVs. These results are similar to what has been reported for acute exercise in patients with FM. PERSPECTIVE: Gulf War veterans with CMP perceive exercise as more painful and effortful than healthy GVs and experience increased pain sensitivity following exercise. These results suggest that similar abnormalities in central nervous system processing of nociceptive information documented in FM may also be occurring in GVs with CMP.

PMID: 20338824 [PubMed – in process]

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