Research investigating physical activity and chronic pain

Dr Daniel Whibley at the University of Aberdeen has been investigating the relationship between pain, sleep and exercise, in people living with chronic pain. As we all know, physical inactivity and poor sleep quality have been related to worse outcomes for people with chronic pain. The researchers will use existing literature to extract insights into the links between pain, exercise and sleep in the lives of those with chronic pain. This information will be used to develop a new treatment package that will aim to improve sleep and exercise over 6 weeks to ultimately reduce pain. This new approach will be tested by people living with chronic pain and could inform a future clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness of this type of programme.

Find out more here: Investigating the role of exercise and sleep in the management of chronic pain.

Increasing the activity of older people with long term pain (iPopp)

As well as looking at complex relationships between sleep, exercise and pain, we are also funding research looking at a potentially simple solution for getting people living with chronic pain to be more active…walking. Dr Clare Jinks, based at the University of Manchester, is hoping to find out whether a walking programme (iPOPP) can encourage people over the age of 65, with joint pain, to be more active. A smaller study that we funded has already been carried out to look at delivery and impact of the programme. Now, a much larger study that we have also funded, is looking to assess the effects of the programme, and the cost implications of any health benefits. Increasing physical activity levels in older people with joint pain could have several benefits including less pain, greater physical function, improved mental health and overall quality of life. Hopefully, this is an outcome that the iPOPP walking programme can deliver.

For further information visit Increasing the activity of older people with long-term pain.

Both of these approaches are simple programmes, which if successfully developed, could allow GPs to better support people living with chronic pain.