Can Pain Raise Our Blood Pressure?

By Eileen Renders

Although we all have very intricate and delicate systems within our bodies, and can therefore react differently to various external stimuli, for many of us, pain can cause a rise in our blood pressure. It certainly has been documented in my own body, however that is not a research study.

University Health News, as well as a few other respected Health Researchers, do concur with the link between your back pain and high blood pressure. It is noted acute pain can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, and chronic pain that lasts a long time can increase your risk for hypertension.

Acute pain is an alarm, warning us that something is wrong within the body, and we go into the fight or flight mode. The sympathetic nervous system goes into high gear to release chemicals that cause the heart to beat faster, and the arteries begin to constrict. There is also a release of cortisone, our stress hormone. These are a few of the body’s reactions to pain.

Chronic pain is not as recognizable as acute pain, and several studies suggest that there is a much higher risk of developing long-term hypertension associated with chronic pain. It is believed that chronic pain causes more wear, and tear on one’s endogenous opioid receptors. One of the main differences between acute pain, (sudden onset-temporary) and chronic pain is that over a long period of time, is that our body’s endogenous opioid response weakens and runs out of opioids, and our sensitivity to pain increases.  Chronic pain is often caused by nerve damage, and compromises one’s daily activities, thus contributing to anxiety or depression.

Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer because there may be no symptoms.

Causes of sudden spikes in blood pressure can be attributed to excess caffeine, exercise or stress.

Medications Over-the-counter pain relievers to avoid such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including brands like aspirin, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin can cause blood pressure to rise.

As well as; Decongestants that include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), some antidepressants, Birth control pills for some women, and any medication that contains caffeine. Also supplements such as; arnica, Ma-huang, ginseng, and a couple of others. Illegal drugs include anabolic steroids, amphetamines, and cocaine.

Final note: See your doctor when you are experiencing either acute or chronic pain to be diagnosed and treat the cause of your pain. It is also recommended to avoid excess Sodium and alcohol. A healthy diet rich in vitamins to support your rise in blood pressure is suggested, such as vegetables such as celery beets, and fresh fruits.

It is strongly recommended before taking any Supplements obtain your Doctor’s approval. Any information found in a Research article is not meant to be a substitute for your doctor’s recommendations.

Eileen Renders is a retired Nutrition Counselor, Health Research writer, Author, and Publisher with more than a Dozen published titles on She founded the First “Wellness” Center in Atlantic County in 1995 and was a provider for Cigna and United Healthcare.