Before we jump into this…What the heck does analgesic mean?

An analgesic or painkiller is any member of the group of drugs used to achieve analgesia, relief from pain. Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems. They are distinct from anesthetics, which temporarily affect, and in some instances completely eliminate, sensation. Analgesics include acetaminophen, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and opioid drugs such as morphine and oxycodone.

So what does strength have to do with this?

Strength training with relatively high intensity has shown to increase several neurotransmitters including: serotonin, acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine.  We have also has seen increases in the activity of neurotransmitter receptors.  Besides the neurotransmitter bump, we see quite an activation of the endocannabinoid system.  Moderate to high intensity training elevates plasma levels thereby triggering analgesia, sedation, anxiolysis, and sense of well being.  This mechanism can explain (even better than the endorphin hypothesis) training’s analgesic effect.  What is interesting here is that the endocannabinoids are triggered and create analgesia both in the body, and the brain.

We’ve all seen those terrible commercials promoting new medications for opiod related constipation… Well, with activation of the endocannabinoid system you are able to not only experience “runner’s high”, you will likely not suffer from central nervous system down regulation..

“It is also important to mention with regard to the runner’s high that cannabinoids produce neither the respiratory depression, meiosis, or strong inhibition of gastrointestinal motility associated with opiates and opioids.”

You are welcome….

In regards to strength training – there is a right way and a wrong way to train through injury and/or mechanical deficit.  You need to be honest with yourself and target your weaknesses.  Fine tuning neural capacity and coordination will assist with improving strength, especially with new movements.  Training should be performed in such a way that the very edges of one’s capability are reached and eventually expanded.


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