A new study has revealed that those living with chronic pain, could also be at an increased risk of developing serious health conditions. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke, and Dementia was higher in patients who experienced widespread pain.
So, what does this mean for patients suffering with chronic pain and should they be worried? Discover everything you need to know below…
The link between chronic pain and health conditions
The latest study into chronic pain was carried out by scholars from the Chongqing Medical University in China. They used data from the FHS (Framingham Heart Study), which today has more than 15,000 participants. The FHS was initially set up to get a better understanding of heart disease. For this study, the scholars assessed data from 2,464 participants.
The participants were originally assessed between 1990 and 1994. It was discovered that 347 of them were suffering from widespread chronic pain. When assessing these patients, it was discovered they have a 47% increased chance of developing Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. They also had a 29% increased risk of suffering a stroke.
Why does chronic pain increase your risk?
The scholars working on the study have several theories as to why chronic pain increases the risk of serious health conditions.
One theory is that it could be down to the lifestyle choices that are made due to chronic pain. When a patient is suffering with widespread pain, they may not feel able to exercise or cook nutritious meals. An unhealthy lifestyle can greatly increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease and strokes.
A different theory is that chronic pain could take up additional resources from the cognitive processing part of the brain. The stress placed upon the body because of the chronic pain can lead to fast cognitive decline.
These are just theories as to why chronic pain might increase your risk of serious health issues. As the latest study was purely observational, additional research needs to be carried out to determine whether chronic pain is a cause of serious health issues. Some experts believe it may simply be a symptom of the conditions themselves.
The importance of treating chronic pain
Chronic pain can have a devastating impact on your health and wellbeing. When you are constantly in pain, it can greatly impact the quality of your life. While there is no cure for the condition, there are ways you can successfully manage it.
Seeking help to combat chronic pain will help to reduce your risk of other serious illness. So, how can you treat the condition and live a pain-free life? There are several treatment options available, ranging from simple lifestyle tweaks to physical therapy and medications.
If you are suffering with chronic pain, call 01633 820 300 to book a consultation today with Dr Ivanova-Stoilova at her Pain Clinic at St Joseph’s Hospital in Newport. After an initial assessment, a treatment plan will be created to help you manage the condition.