High blood pressure, or hypertension as it’s known, isn’t often a concern when it comes to short-term back pain, but if it sticks around, you can get stuck in a vicious cycle.
When experiencing ongoing pain, electrical signals from your brain regularly stimulate the sympathetic nervous system in your body, especially in and around your spine. This increases your heart rate and raises your blood pressure.
This can also trigger a response from your adrenal glands, leading to a spike in adrenaline, which makes any existing hypertension more acute. These responses in your body can then make your pain worse, as it often creates stress and tension, setting off the cycle again.
Chiropractic treatment does not lower blood pressure levels directly. However, improving chronic back pain through treatment is likely to lessen and improve the symptoms of hypertension.
But how can you tell if your blood pressure is being affected by your back pain?
This is going to vary from person to person. If you are experiencing back pain and already have symptoms of hypertension, it’s well worth keeping an eye on how pain spikes correlate with your cardiovascular health. You may notice that the severity of your back pain influences how high your blood pressure becomes. Symptoms of a blood pressure spike include dizziness combined with an irregular heartbeat, blurred vision and headaches.
However, even if you have no issues with hypertension, it’s a good idea to take steps to resolve chronic back pain to protect your cardiovascular health for the future. It’s also important to remember that hypertension often has no symptoms at all, so it’s worth getting it checked out by a healthcare professional. If you want to get your blood pressure checked by our chiropractors at Sundial, don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment.
Good news – when back pain and blood pressure are interlinked, it means that by improving one you improve the other. So how can you ease chronic pain associated with hypertension?
- Get checked out. There’s absolutely no need for you to suffer with chronic back pain. The sooner you take the steps to resolving ongoing pain, the less influence it will have on your cardiovascular health.
- Exercise. Not only does regular exercise lower your blood pressure over time, it also frees up tension in your back and makes you more flexible, thereby improving pain.
- Manage stress. The symptoms of stress are often identical to that of high blood pressure and are frequently closely connected. Take the time to rest, avoid overworking if you can and make time every day for something you enjoy. This will put you in a parasympathetic state (a state of rest and relaxation) that is essential for improving back pain and hypertension.
- Lower your alcohol intake. Ever wondered exactly why a hangover makes you feel so rough? Alcohol has been proven to increase inflammation in the body, and too much of it can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels, which can cause headaches, back pain and poor quality sleep. Just 3 to 4 weeks with no alcohol is enough to reduce your blood pressure to healthier levels and is a sure-fire way to improve chronic pain.
Want to take the first steps to improving your back pain? Book in at Sundial today.
1 Marcella Saccò, MD, 2 Michele Meschi, MD, PhD, 3 Giuseppe Regolisti, MD, 4 Simon. (June 2013). The Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Pain. National Library of Medicine. 8(15), pp.600-605. [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8033897/ [Accessed 20 June 2023].
1 Young-Hyeon Bae, 2 Joon-Shik Shin, 3 Jinho Lee, 4 Me-riong Kim, 5 Ki Byung Park. (September 2015). Association between Hypertension and the Prevalence of Low Back Pain and Osteoarthritis in Koreans: A Cross-Sectional St. PLOS ONE. 10(9). [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4578861/ [Accessed 20 June 2023].
Midwest Pain Clinics. (June 2013). Can Pain Cause High Blood Pressure?. [Online]. Midwest Pain Clinics. Last Updated: November 2022. Available at: https://midwestpainclinics.com/can-pain-cause-high-blood-pressure/ [Accessed 25 June 2023].