Domain-specific physical activity, pain interference, and muscle pain after activity Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE:Using the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, we examined the associations of occupation, household, transport, and leisure physical activity with pain interference with normal work and muscle pain after activity. METHODS:This cross-sectional analysis included 7655 working and 11,766 nonworking participants. Physical activity was assessed using the long-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Pain interference was assessed with the Short-Form 12-Item Health Survey version 2.0, and muscle pain after activity was assessed using the 12-item Somatic and Psychological Health Report. Ordered logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), and restricted cubic splines were used to graphically represent the shape of associations. RESULTS:All physical activity domain-pain outcome associations were nonlinear. Compared with participants who reported the lowest level of activity, participants who reported the median level of transport physical activity (10 MET·h·wk) reported less pain interference (workers: OR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.77-0.97]; nonworkers: OR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.79-0.97]) and muscle pain after activity (workers: OR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.70-0.95]; nonworkers: OR, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.77-0.95]). Higher levels of leisure time activity (20 MET·h·wk) were associated with less pain interference in nonworkers (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.77-0.98) and muscle pain after activity in workers (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.56-0.80). Workers who reported the median level of household activity (16 MET·h·wk) had increased pain interference (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.07-1.32) and muscle pain after activity (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.06-1.42) than did those who reported the least household activity. CONCLUSIONS:Associations between domain-specific physical activity and pain outcomes were not uniform. Within the transport and leisure domains, physical activity was inversely associated with pain-related outcomes, whereas household physical activity was positively associated with pain scores within the working sample.


  • Swain, CTV
  • Bassett, JK
  • Hodge, AM
  • Bruinsma, FJ
  • Mahmood, S
  • Jayasekara, Harindra
  • Macinnis, RJ
  • Giles, GG
  • Milne, RL
  • English, DR
  • Lynch, BM

publication date

  • 2020