An examination of diurnal variations in neuropathic pain and affect, on exercise and non-exercise days, in adults with spinal cord injury

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis’ study utilizes ecological momentary assessment to measure the intra-individual diurnal variations in neuropathic pain and affect on exercise and non-exercise days in a community setting. The study aims to provide a deeper understanding of how neuropathic pain and affect change from pre to post-exercise, and over time.

Using the mEMA System, participants with spinal cord injuries (SCI) completed the Feeling Scale, Felt Arousal Scale, and Neuropathic Scale in response to six daily prompts, before and after exercise. Paired samples t-tests were conducted on changes in neuropathic pain and affect from pre to post-exercise.

Participants experienced a significant decrease in neuropathic pain following completion of at least one bout of exercise. The overall results suggest exercise can reduce neuropathic pain, and may also increase feelings of pleasure. Further research is need to to look at both individual characteristics, and characteristics of exercise that may moderate changes in neuropathic pain and affect for adults with SCI.

Kathleen Martin Ginis, PhD

Professor at the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia