2016, Volume 12, Issue 1

Evaluation of the pain threshold and tolerance of pain by martial arts athletes and non-athletes using a different methods and tools



Katarzyna Leźnicka1, Maciej Pawlak2, Monika Białecka3, Krzysztof Safranow4, Michał Spieszny5, Tomasz Klocek5, Paweł Cięszczyk6

1Department of Human Functional Anatomy and Biometry, Faculty of Physical Culture and Health Promotion, University of Szczecin, Poland
2Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Hygiene, Poznan University of Physical Education, Poland
3Department of Pharmacokinetics and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Pomeranian Medical University, Poland
4Department of Biochemistry and Medical Chemistry, Pomeranian Medical University, Poland
5Institute of Sports, University of Physical Education in Krakow, Poland
6Department of Biological Basis of Physical Culture, Faculty of Physical Culture and Health Promotion, Szczecin University, Poland


Author for correspondence: Katarzyna Leźnicka; Department of Human Functional Anatomy and Biometry, Faculty of Physical Culture and Health Promotion, University of Szczecin, Poland; email: k.leznicka@tlen.pl


Full text

Abstract

Background and Study Aims: Control of pain by athletes and the quest for control over pain is an integral part of sports, but is also one of the most important skills in combat sports and large part of martial arts (direct contact with the opponent). Due to systematic exposure to brief periods of intense pain during training or competition, athletes need to learn how to effectively deal with these experiences. The aim of our research was the perception of pain in a group of martial arts athletes and non-athletes using different diagnostic methods involving thermal stimuli and mechanical, and the equivalence of these tests.

Material and Methods: The study involved 321 healthy men, aged 18 to 28 years. The martial arts group consisted of 140 athletes aged 18 to 28 years. The control group consisted of 181 students of the Faculty of Physical Culture, University of Szczecin, not involved in any sport at a professional level, aged between 18 and 26 years. Measurement of the pain threshold and pain tolerance was performed using Cold Pressor Test (CPT) and Pressure Pain Test (PPT).

Results: The study showed that the martial arts athletes had a different sensitivity to pain compared to non-athletes. This was reflected by both significantly higher tolerances to harmful cold and mechanical stimulation as well as a significantly higher mechanical pain threshold (p<0.001).

Conclusions: It seems that both tools and methods, CPT and PPT, can be accepted as adequate and equivalent in relation to the evaluation of tolerance to pain, but not for the pain threshold. The discrepancies in pain threshold results between these tests indicate the need for a few more tests.


Key words: Pressure Pain Test (PPT), pressure Cold Pressor Test, combat sports, algometer