Does Chronic Pain Increase Blood Pressure? Why?

You must have experienced a degree of pain or ache in your body at some point in your life. It may be due to injuries, accidents, or slight mishaps. When you meet an accident, your body sends signals to the brain. These signals are critical to assess the injury pain.

Pain is a method that your body uses to tell you that something isn’t right. After you are alert about the injury, your body starts healing itself. Your pain goes away by taking precautions and your body’s healing ability as soon as the injury heals. Despite that, some cases represent an entirely different situation in terms of body pain. 

Research studies and 2019 reports show that almost 20% of the entire adult US population had chronic pain. Moreover, nearly 7% of those adults experienced high-impact chronic pain that limited their day-to-day tasks and interfered with their lives. So, what is chronic pain? How does it occur in people? Does chronic pain increase blood pressure? Why?

What is Chronic Pain?

Generally, chronic pain is the pain that can last up to a minimum of 12 weeks, as studies suggest. Adults, especially old people are susceptible to developing a wide range of conditions and diseases that may lead to chronic pain – do not take lightly.

Chronic pain can severely deteriorate your physical and mental health. With the persistent pain comes the inability to be effective in your daily life tasks and routines. Hence, you will experience a significant change in your life. The pain might be sharp, like a shooting or rhythmically aching sensation in one part of the body or travel throughout it. Moreover, chronic pain can be dull when it isn’t a growing concern requiring medical attention.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?

While chronic pain is persistent and may last at least 12 weeks, it may come and go without any apparent reason. In simple terms, chronic pain doesn’t need to persist throughout the day for 12 weeks. In fact, the pain may come and go, which means it may be steady or intermittent. What’s more, it may also range in severity, either mild or high-impact. 

To minimize the risk of high-impact chronic pain, keep an eye out for some of these pain symptoms that may appear in various parts of your body (especially the muscles).

• Soreness

• Stiffness

• Throbbing pain sensation

• Shooting pain

• Dull pain

• Burning sensation

For this reason, chronic pain entails a lack of energy and the loss of desire to function actively. Moreover, chronic pain can also result in a lack of sexual drive and trouble when falling asleep or staying asleep for an extended period (normal sleeping cycle). 

Most of the medications and treatment options for chronic pain conditions aim to reduce muscle soreness, stiffness, and aching while improving mobility. Eventually, with proper treatment and cautious measures, you can live your life without persistent pain discomfort.

So for that to happen, you need to seek immediate medical attention in case of persistent pain. Especially if you have pain in a part of the body where you didn’t even experience an injury, it is advisable to visit your doctor and get yourself checked. Early detection can prevent further deterioration of your physical well-being and might also block the way to other conditions, such as high blood pressure (hypertension).

What Are the Common Causes of Chronic Pain?

Common causes of pain are somewhat similar to the signs of pulled muscles or a strain on your back. What’s more, certain primary health conditions can lead to high-impact chronic pain in your body. Take a look at a few of them below.

• Fibromyalgia

Pain that spreads into the surroundings of muscles and bones unusually

• Fatigue Syndrome

Weary bones and muscles due to a long period of low activity or untreated medical injury leading to chronic pain

• Inflammations inside the body

Inflamed organs and body parts are a common nuisance that relates to chronic and movement-affecting pains.

Are Chronic Pain and Blood Pressure Related?

High blood pressure or hypertension is a cause for concern as it usually has no warning signs. Hypertension entails extreme narrowing of the arteries with increased blood flow from and through the heart. Plus, there is an increase in resistance of blood cells against the arterial walls. Consequently, all this leads to a significant rise in your blood pressure. With that, the risk of heart failure in diseases, disorders, and strokes increases.

Many studies and researches are underway to determine the possible link between the changes in blood pressure due to long-lasting chronic and high-impact pain. Meanwhile, medical experts and doctors suggest how and why blood pressure changes might occur in people with chronic pain conditions/ disorders.

How and Why Chronic Pain May Increase Blood Pressure?

Clinical data are suggesting a link between the rise in blood pressure and chronic and long-lasting pain. Apart from essential research and studies and those that have yielded results, there are clinical suggestions that the linking process may be complex.

For example, when you come in contact with an electrical energy source, you will experience an electric shock, ranging from a slight buzz to a painful jolt. It may lead to an increase in blood pressure and fluctuations in heart rate. Experiencing chronic pain means that your nervous system ramped up due to the negative stimuli from your brain, causing an elevation in blood pressure.

Moreover, a new study suggests that there might really be reasons for how blood pressure changes due to chronic pain. The research shows that it is the muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) that is responsible for the differences in blood pressure in your body. The researchers inserted microelectrodes into the knee area where bursts of MSNA were measured. They also used fMRI images to identify the core components responding in patterns with the pain influx.

Furthermore, when the blood vessels experience an increase in blood pressure, they can cramp. This cramping can result in intense muscle fatigue, soreness, and pain. Many people who have chronic pain may go on to develop hypertension. However, experts still need to study physiological or psychological factors to determine who is at risk of experiencing high blood pressure due to chronic pain.

Who’s the Most Vulnerable to Develop Chronic Pain?

Pain can cause the brain to generate negative stimuli for the nervous system and elevate blood pressure. Therefore, it is essential to learn who is susceptible to such a condition. Early detection can help devise a proper treatment plan and prescribe medications to prevent severe blood pressure fluctuations. Here are the people most vulnerable to chronic pain.

• Overweight (Obese)

• Someone involved in a recent accident resulting in a major injury

• Females (as the clinical data suggests)

What Can You Do to Prevent and Treat Chronic Pain?

Seeking medical care and consulting an expert healthcare provider is the top priority if you feel the risk of suffering from chronic pain or experience any symptoms. Otherwise, there are specific lifestyle changes that you can adopt to reduce the chances of chronic pain conditions.

Lifestyle Changes

• Increasing Physical Activity

Remaining obese and overweight for an extended period greatly increases the risk of chronic pain conditions. Therefore, consider adopting certain exercise routines that will not only help you lose weight and become healthy but will also regulate and ensure adequate blood circulation in your body. 

• Dietary Changes

Sticking to a healthy diet never goes wrong. For that reason, consider eliminating harmful and unhealthy food options (such as junk and processed food) from your daily diet. Eat fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods. This way, you can improve your overall physical well-being and have a healthy heart, active muscles, better energy, etc. 

• Meditation and Massages

Most of the time, people go for massage and physiotherapies in case of pain conditions. As a result, they can prevent chronic pain. The options for relaxing and avoiding stress due to chronic pain can help you avoid unusual spikes in your blood pressure as well. Hypertension can become a relatively disturbing aspect, so consider massages, physiotherapies, better sleep routines, acupuncture, cupping, etc.

Bottom Line

Conclusively, we can presume that studies and researches will soon yield vital data to determine whether there is a process behind how chronic pain influences or increases blood pressure. However, it is best to stay cautious, avoid chronic pain symptoms, and seek medical care in high blood pressure. Also, make sure to regularly check your blood pressure using smartwatches and other digital devices.