February is American Heart Month, an opportunity to focus on our cardiovascular health and learn about ways to lower our risk of heart disease. At The Comprehensive Pain Institute of Bedford & Benbrook, TX, we recognize the lesser discussed, yet significant connection between chronic pain and cardiovascular wellness; not only can it negatively impact quality of life, but it can also have lasting implications on cardiovascular wellbeing. Understanding this relationship is vital for effective pain management as well as maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Chronic Pain and Heart Health
Chronic pain, defined as lasting more than 12 weeks, can come from various conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and neuropathy. But chronic pain goes beyond physical sensation to encompass emotional and mental distress—this complexity forms its connection with heart health.
Chronic Pain Triggers Stress Response and Heart Strain
Constant pain triggers a stress response in the body, with cortisol and adrenaline being released as stress hormones into circulation, increasing heart rate and blood pressure while straining cardiovascular system—over time this straining may contribute to increased risks for hypertension or heart disease.
People living with chronic pain tend to engage in less physical activity, which is an essential element for maintaining heart health. Pain may reduce their ability to exercise, leading them down the path toward becoming sedentary – an established risk factor for heart disease. It’s important to get active in any way you can—even low impact activities such as walking or stretching is helpful! Chronic pain can also disrupt sleeping patterns which is an integral component of overall heart wellbeing.
Common medications prescribed to manage chronic pain, specifically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can have serious implications on heart health. Long-term use may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in individuals who already have preexisting heart conditions, particularly among those taking these NSAIDs for extended periods.
Effective Pain Management Strategies to Promote Cardiovascular Wellbeing
At The Comprehensive Pain Institute, we support a holistic approach to pain management that considers overall health, including heart health. This involves medical treatments, physical therapy sessions and lifestyle modifications as part of this strategy. Here are a few heart healthy tips from our pain doctors in Bedford & Benbrook, TX:
Physical Activity: We strongly promote engaging in safe and appropriate physical activities that can be done despite pain, such as walking, swimming or gentle yoga. Such exercises may help maintain cardiovascular health without exacerbating discomfort.
Stress Management: Effective stress management is vital when living with chronic pain, including techniques like mindfulness meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy which can reduce its impact on heart function.
Sleep Hygiene: Good sleep hygiene practices are vital. Our pain experts collaborate with patients to establish routines and environments conducive to restful sleeping – something which can benefit both pain management and heart health.
Medication Review: Our medical professionals periodically assess pain medications to ensure they provide maximum effectiveness without increasing risk to heart health. This may involve exploring alternative pain management methods which are less harmful.
Patient Education: Our focus on patient education involves informing individuals on the link between chronic pain and cardiovascular health is an integral component of our approach. Acknowledging this association allows patients to make more informed decisions regarding their own health needs and pain management strategies.
Chronic Pain Management in Bedford & Benbrook, TX
American Heart Month provides us with an opportunity to recognize the correlation between chronic pain and cardiovascular health. At The Comprehensive Pain Institute of Bedford & Benbrook, TX, we are dedicated to offering holistic care that addresses both pain itself as well as its wider health implications. If you are living with chronic discomfort and concerned about its impact on your cardiovascular wellbeing, let us be your partner in creating a pain management plan that supports both improved heart health and quality of life.
Contact our pain management clinics in Bedford & Benbrook, TX for more information or to set up an appointment – let us be your partner in managing pain and safeguarding heart health!