In healthy people, a higher resting blood pressure is associated with a decreased sensitivity to acute pain. In other words, if you’re blood pressure is high, you wouldn’t feel as much pain if someone stuck you with a pin. Scientists speculate that this link between the two systems is a way to restore normal arousal levels after a painful stimulus. The body responds, or is aroused, initially by pain, but then the pain signals are turned down so that the rest of the body’s systems can return to normal.
In people with chronic pain however, the relationship between the two systems is reversed. For a chronic pain sufferer, higher blood pressure levels have been associated with an increased, or higher, sensitivity to pain, as opposed to a decreased, or lower, sensitivity in healthy people. In people with chronic pain, the increased sensitivity extends beyond acute pain as well, with higher blood pressure also being linked to an increased sensitivity to chronic pain.
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