Matt is an accredited exercise physiologist. His clinical and research interests concern the role of exercise in the management of chronic pain and chronic fatigue, in particular the mechanisms through which exercise works and the effectiveness of a combined exercise and education approach. Matt is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Exercise Physiology at UNSW Sydney and a postdoctoral fellow in the McAuley group at NeuRA. Since commencing with the McAuley group in 2019, Matt’s research profile has expanded to include investigations of medicines for low back pain and he has also developed an interest in research to improve the openness and transparency of science.
The hypoalgesic effects of exercise are well described, but there are conflicting findings for different modalities of pain; in particular for mechanical vs thermal noxious stimuli, which are the most commonly used in studies of exercise-induced hypoalgesia. The aims of this study were 1) to investigate the effect of aerobic exercise on pressure and heat pain thresholds that were well equated with regard to their temporal and spatial profile and 2) to identify whether changes in the excitability of nociceptive pathways-measured using laser-evoked potentials-accompany exercise-induced hypoalgesia. This is the first investigation to compare the effects of exercise on pressure and heat pain using the same stimulation site and pattern. The results show that aerobic exercise reduces mechanical pain sensitivity more than thermal pain sensitivity.
Six weeks of MICT cycling (chronic exercise) increased PPT for the lower body, but not upper body, in overweight men, whereas HIIT did not provide any hypoalgesic effect for chronic exercise. The acute effect of exercise on PPT was highly variable and negligible overall.