NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Roger Mignosa, DO, introduced a comprehensive approach to diagnose, treat, and prevent pain with exercise science at the American Academy of Pain Management 2015 meeting.

His approach couples foundational knowledge with a paradigm that addresses the root cause of pain in hopes of showing how exercise can improve the sustainability of treatment, the most effective and least expensive resource within health care.

In terms of sustainability, medicine must address the foundational elements of a patient’s symptoms to be effective and sustainable. “Search exercise in a search engine, and you’ll find it paired with almost every medical condition you can think of off the top of your head,” said Dr. Mignosa.

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Exercise changes DNA through epigenetics and methylation. Clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach to the outside of a gene and make it more or less able to receive and respond to biochemical signals from the body.

During exercise, the brain creates endorphins, chemicals to fight stress and produce euphoria. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) also comes into play, which protects memory neurons and acts as a reset switch, he noted.

Current exercise recommendations from The American College of Sports Medicine are as follows:

•  At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week

•  Strength training 2 to 3 days per week, focusing on each major muscle group

•  Neuromotor functional fitness training 2 to 3 days per week

Findings from numerous studies have shown that exercise can be just as effective as medications for treating conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to Dr. Mignosa.