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Five Complications of Chronic Pain

Five Complications of Chronic Pain

Living with untreated persistent pain has several potential complications. It’s estimated that 20% of adults in the United States are living with some type of chronic pain. Roughly 50 million are partially or fully disabled as a result of persistent pain

The interventional pain management team at Lynx Healthcare specialize in treating chronic pain arising from conditions such as herniated discs, migraines, and spinal stenosis. Treating chronic pain is essential to preventing complications and improving how you feel and function. 

Persistent pain can have a profound impact on your daily life, from sleep quality to cardiovascular health. Here’s what you need to know about five common complications of untreated chronic pain. 

Complication #1: Poor sleep quality

Individuals with chronic pain are more likely to report trouble sleeping compared to people without persistent pain. 

Unrelenting pain can make it difficult to get restful sleep. You’re more likely to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting deep sleep, if you have untreated chronic pain. Many people with persistent pain wake feeling unrested, and feel tired throughout the day as a result. 

Complication #2: Worsening cardiovascular health

Uncontrolled pain places a major strain on many body systems, including your cardiovascular system. Chronic pain increases the risk of high blood pressure. When pain flares up, the body releases substances that increase your heart rate and spike your blood pressure. 

High blood pressure increases the chances of serious complications, including heart attack and stroke. If persistent pain is left untreated or is poorly managed, it can lead to damaged blood vessels and heart tissue. 

Complication #3: Increased risk of mental health issues

Chronic pain and depression are two important causes of disability and reduced quality of life, and they often occur together. Uncontrolled pain puts the body and brain in a stressed state and influences many aspects of how you feel on a day-to-day basis. 

Pain affects some of the same pathways in the brain that regulate mood, and the communication between the brain and body goes both ways. Your mind can affect your perception of pain, and physical pain can influence your mood. Persistent pain increases the risk of depression. 

Complication #4: Negative effects on sexual function

Chronic pain can affect your sexual function, and interfere with your sexuality. The pain itself, or associated changes in mood, may affect your libido. Having a gratifying sex life plays a role in quality of life. Additionally, sexual activity has a positive influence on pain, helping to curb pain levels. 

We find it equally important to improve quality of life to address sexual dysfunction in patients with chronic pain. 

Complication #5: Impaired quality of life

Unrelenting pain often interferes with the overall ability to enjoy life. It can affect many aspects of your life, including your relationships, productivity, self-esteem, emotions, and intimacy. These areas are vital to having a satisfying life. 

To add to that, pain often causes feelings of loneliness and isolation. Our goal is to ease your pain using proven pain management strategies, so that your overall quality of life improves.

If you’re dealing with any type of chronic pain, get in touch with a member of the Lynx Healthcare team. Our board-certified providers will evaluate your pain and create a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and reduce complications. To get started, call 505-356-4295 to schedule a visit or use our online appointment request form

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