Chronic pain is different from occasional aches and pains in many ways, including the fact it may also have an impact on other aspects of your health. Growing evidence suggests ongoing pain may elevate blood pressure by consistently stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s involuntary responses. Board-certified physicians in Los Angeles discuss the connections between chronic pain and high blood pressure.
Related Responses to Pain Stimuli
Several studies have tested subjects with everything from ice-cold water to mild electrical stimulation to determine if there’s a connection between pain and high blood pressure. A connection was found in all of these studies, even within normal blood pressure ranges (somewhere around 120/80 mmHg).
Pain Sensitivity and Blood Pressure
An interesting find common among studies of chronic pain and blood pressure is a connection also involving a decreased sensitivity to pain, a condition known as hypalgesia. This reduced pain sensitivity, also common in individuals with a genetic history of high blood pressure, may show up before hypertension develops.
Contributions to Other Health Risks
High blood pressure, regardless of what causes it, can contribute to an assortment of serious health conditions. In addition to heart disease and stroke, sustained blood pressure above normal levels may also affect kidney functions and increase the risk of developing diabetes. Any of these conditions can make it more difficult to manage chronic pain.
How to Control Chronic Pain
Some instances of chronic pain will never completely go away. Reaching a point where persistent discomfort is manageable starts with getting an accurate diagnosis to determine possible sources of your pain. Management techniques can range from participating in activities that reduce stress and anxiety to physical therapy and alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments. Severe cases may require back or neck surgery.
Previous studies have linked chronic pain to higher blood sugar levels in diabetics and an increased risk of developing arthritis. Though there is no simple cure for chronic pain, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exploring a variety of treatment options is often beneficial.
If you’re experiencing chronic neck or back pain, don’t hesitate to find a solution for relief as soon as possible. Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons specialize in traditional spinal fusion surgery as well as a variety of alternatives to spinal fusion. Give The Spine Institute a call today at 310-828-7757 and take your first step on the path toward a pain-free life.