The effect of exercise cessation on non-articular tenderness measures and quality of life in well-trained athletes

Lior Zeller, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra*, Dahlia Weitzman, Dan Buskila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The term chronic multi-symptom illness (CMI) refers to a spectrum of pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, that are characterized by unexplained chronic pain, fatigue, and cognitive and mood complaints Objectives: To examine the hypothesis that exercise cessation is associated with symptoms similar to CMI in welltrained amateur athletes. Methods: The study, conducted in running and triathlon clubs in Israel, involved 26 asymptomatic healthy athletes who regularly exercise 6.75 ± 3.65 hours a week. All athletes were instructed to refrain from physical activity for 7 days. All underwent a complete physical exam, rheumatological assessment including non-articular tenderness threshold (using dolorimeter) and tender points. In addition they completed the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire. Assessments were conducted before exercise cessation and 7 days later. Results: Seven days after sports deprivation all subjects were significantly more tender by all tender measures (P < 0.001) (dolorimeter thresholds and tender point count). There was also a significant reduction in the scores for physical role function (P < 0.001), emotional role function (P < 0.001) and summary subscales of the SF-36 questionnaire after exercise cessation. Conclusions: Exercise deprivation is associated with change in non-articular tenderness threshold and reduction in quality of life scores. This may be associated with the development of chronic multi-symptom illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-47
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dolorimetry
  • Exercise
  • Quality of life
  • Tenderness


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