An investigation into pain threshold and tolerance differences between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes and a commensurate group of high intensity training, aerobic and resistance athletes

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Miller, Vance
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Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Mannion, Jamie
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes
high-intensity training
resistance training
pain tolerance
pain threshold
martial arts
Miller, V. (2017). An investigation into pain threshold and tolerance differences between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes and a commensurate group of high-intensity training, aerobic and resistance athletes. An unpublished research thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
BACKGROUND: High-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise is known to raise pain tolerance. There is also some data indicating that participation in high contact martial arts may increase pain tolerance and threshold, however, studies have not been well controlled for the effect of exercise. AIM: The aim of this study was to compare pain tolerance and thresholds between both contact and non-contact athletes who train to a similar intensity. METHODS: Thirty-nine pain-free volunteers (n=19 High-intensity Training; and n=20 BJJ) completed a series of pain tests in a laboratory setting. Pressure pain thresholds and tolerances were assessed using a handheld pressure algometer, and thermal tolerance was assessed using a cold pressor apparatus. RESULTS: The BJJ group exhibited greater tolerance on left and right for the Cold Pressor test (p < 0.02) and also on the right side for Pressure Pain threshold (p= 0.002) and Pressure Pain Tolerance (p= 0.005). CONCLUSION: The results from this study indicate that BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) athletes have a higher threshold and tolerance to pain than high-intensity aerobic and resistance athletes, at least for the right side. The exposure of pain stimulus may provide greater increases in threshold and tolerance over and above those achieved by high intensity exercise alone.
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