Back pain is one of the most life-disturbing medical conditions. It disrupts the way you walk, sit, and do work, and most of all, chronic back pain can cause stress. Back pain is common in 13% of adults between the ages of 20 and 69, but does it have a link with high blood pressure? If you do not get treatment for your back pain, it may progress into severe states and possibly lead to hypertension (e.g., due to stress).
High blood pressure is also a common problem. Over 108 million people in the US, who make up almost half of the entire adult American population (45%), might struggle with hypertension. What’s more, only 1 out of every four adults with hypertension can keep the condition under control. There are broad medical researches underway to determine the possible link between high blood pressure (hypertension) and back pain.
Back Pain and High Blood Pressure
You may experience back pain, mild or chronic, for various reasons, such as an injury, muscle sprains, a sudden awkward position, etc. However, it would be best if you did not ignore even the slightest symptoms as they can become persistent and lead to worse medical conditions. Back pain can occur at any point in your entire back and lead down to the buttocks and leg areas. While a few back pain symptoms are similar to some other medical conditions, it is vital to learn how back pain and high blood pressure may be related.
Your blood pressure depicts how much blood passes through your veins and arteries (blood vessels). It also represents the resistance that the blood cells experience when the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure entails unhealthy blood flow (added resistance) inside your arteries. There is increased pressure on the arterial walls due to narrow blood vessels. Consequently, the chances of cardiovascular diseases and conditions increase.
Your back area close to the cardiovascular muscles (the heart and the chest) is susceptible to acute or chronic pain, depending on the state of the cardiovascular conditions. Apart from that, there is evidence that hypertension can cause chronic body aches and fatigues that become unbearable to a certain extent. Moreover, the narrow arteries cramp up due to high blood pressure; hence, the muscles around the cramping arteries experience soreness, fatigue, and pain. This shows high blood pressure can cause back pain if you are already experiencing muscle fatigue and cramps in your back.
Symptoms of Back Pain
Here are a few sensations and symptoms of back pain.
• Shooting pain that moves up and down the spine
• Pain that radiates towards the legs
• Pain when trying to stand up straight
• Aches in the lower back
• Lack of flexibility in and around the back (e.g., inability to turn back without pain)
Although back pain requires you to seek medical attention, posture and daily movement-related symptoms of back pain are usually short-lived. Moreover, it is essential to know that high blood pressure also causes aches in parts of the body where the blood vessels narrow.
Causes of Back Pain
Back Pain occurs due to different reasons, and we have listed a few common causes below.
• Structural Deformities or Changes
Ruptured or bulging disks near your vertebrae can cause back pain. Because they act as cushions for your movement, their inability leads to excessive pressure on the nerve.
Sciatica occurs due to a herniated or slipped disk, causing pressure on the nerve root. The pain sensation originates from your lower spine and extends through the buttocks towards the back of the leg.
Injuries and extreme tension in the back muscles lead to intense back pain. It is advisable to visit a doctor if you experience severe pain in your back. Remember, the tension in cardiovascular muscles occurs when your blood pressure is high (hypertension).
The way you usually sit in your house or at work also affects your chances and severity of back pain. Pushing your head towards the screen at the office or spending too much time neck-down using a cell phone in the house might cause back pain.
Minor fractures in your vertebrae can cause back pain. These minor fractures become probable after your bones lose their thickness and density.
Deterioration of the spinal columns can cause back pain that becomes unbearable and consistent after some time. In arthritis, the joints experience swelling, stiffness, and pain in the tissues around them. Eventually, you will feel intense back pain that results in degrading postures and body movement.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
How many people do you think are aware of the symptoms of “hypertension?” More than half of the American adult population experiences fluctuations in blood pressure. People aren’t able to detect the symptoms of hypertension as there are no warning signs. While measuring your blood pressure is the only way, here are some signs to look for.
• Shortness of breath
• Blood in the urine
• Chest pain
Seeking immediate medical care is the best response. Measure blood pressure to detect any uncertain and unusual fluctuations. Furthermore, genetic disease history may also significantly increase your risk for conditions like high blood pressure. So, visit your doctor and discuss your condition for early detection. If you have chronic pain and high blood pressure, the two conditions could be related.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
There isn’t any exact and absolute cause for high blood pressure. Also, with the lack of knowledge regarding the mechanism behind the gradual increase in blood pressure, doctors and experts are yet to determine the real reasons. However, here are some of the causes of high blood pressure, which in combination can lead to severe hypertension. Subsequently, there can be an impact on your body’s back muscles that can result in chronic pain over time.
• Lack of Physical Activities
The lack of adequate physical activity may cause you to experience high blood pressure. Without physical activity, your body fails to maintain a healthy weight and becomes obese (calculate your Body Mass Index to know if you are healthy or overweight). In addition to obesity, you may experience fatigue, tiredness, and low energy.
• Hereditary Conditions
Often, hypertension runs in the family, and patients whose parents have high blood pressure are at an increased for developing the condition. It may be due to genetic mutations or abnormalities, but the inheritance pattern is unknown.
• Changes in Body
Once your body goes through significant physical changes over time, high blood pressure becomes a common occurrence. For example, with age, your kidneys may not function as efficiently as before, and the salts and minerals for secretion may remain in the body. Thus, they might influence blood pressure by impacting blood sugar and mineral consistency.
How Are Back Pain and High Blood Pressure Related?
You first have to understand how back pain can cause high blood pressure. Chronic pain interferes with your daily tasks, as it causes discomfort, inflammation and may lead to hypertension.
While there are no clear warning signs of hypertension, symptoms of chronic back pain may cause an increase in blood pressure. Hence, there may be a link between chronic pain and high blood pressure.
Chronic lower back pain may lead to hypertension as blood pressure goes up when you experience pain. It is essential to identify the cause of pain if it persists for more than a few days. Go for regular check-ups and get your blood pressure measured. You can also use home blood pressure monitors with smartwatches and digital readings to keep tabs on your blood pressure.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a gradually worsening condition that can persist in your body with no noticeable symptoms. Hence, healthy activities, consuming a nutritious diet, and regular check-ups are paramount in countering such medical conditions.
For example, a regular exercise routine or check and balance on what you eat throughout the day (low-sugar food, cholesterol, etc.) will make managing a condition like back pain relatively easy. Also, if you are successful in detecting the symptoms early, you can manage your condition better.
But keep in mind that waiting for the chronic symptoms to appear might put you in a dangerous tackle with the risks of high blood pressure. For that reason, ensure that you visit your doctor every month and go for a thorough check-up annually.