Insight

Is There A Connection Between Anger and Chronic Pain?

Is There A Connection Between Anger and Chronic Pain?

Daniel L. Deuterman

Daniel L. Deuterman

January 3, 2020 04:59 PM

Is there a connection between anger and chronic pain? Yes, there could be.

While anger may not cause your pain, research shows that your emotions can affect how you experience pain. Anger can increase sensitivity and muscle tension, increasing pain. Anger turned inward may lead to depression.

According to a research report by the International Association for the Study of Pain, anger can not only affect your pain but also treatment outcomes.

“Anger is associated with pain intensity in many chronic pain conditions, including headache, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, and back pain,” the study authors write. “Higher anger expression is prospectively associated with poorer functional outcomes such as physical performance deficits and work disability… There is likewise a well-documented relationship between anger, anxiety, and depression.”

In pointing out this connection between anger, stress, anxiety and pain, we are not saying “it is all in your head,” something most people with chronic pain have been told at some point during their health care journey.

But it is something of which to be mindful as you navigate the legal system and seek treatment and compensation for your pain and injuries.

Certainly, letting go of anger won’t make your pain disappear when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia, back injuries, or other painful medical conditions. But anger management strategies, a change in mindset, and techniques like meditation, mindfulness and cognitive behavior therapy may help you manage your pain better and have a positive impact on your quality of life.

“Stress and pain are inevitable parts of life,” writes Dr. Beth Darnell, a Stanford pain scientist and advocate for patient-centered pain treatment and research.

“As many as 1 in 3 individuals lives with ongoing pain, and everyone is likely to experience it at some point in their life. While you cannot always control what happens to you, you can control how you respond to it. In the face of stress and pain, how you respond will determine the course of both,” Dr. Darnell writes on her blog. “Humans are hardwired to focus attention on pain and to want to escape it. Neuroimaging research and other studies show that focusing attention on pain unwittingly feeds the fire. Worse, not being able to escape pain naturally causes further stress, thereby further stoking the flames.”

Dr. David Hanscom, an orthopedic spine surgeon and an expert in teaching people to manage their chronic pain, explores how anger at the workers’ comp system and anger, in general, can contribute to chronic pain.

The points he makes about anger and frustration about the workers’ comp system impacting an injured person’s recovery and ongoing pain are quite valid.

We’ve seen time and time again how being mired in the workers’ comp or Social Security Disability bureaucracy and fighting what can sometimes seem a losing battle can impact our clients’ health. That’s one of the reasons we take a “whole person” approach when dealing with clients.

Another valid point Dr. Hanscom makes is that anger traps workers so that they cannot fully engage in their care and deprives them of the motivation or ability to even care or engage in the process. Accordingly, you can see how this makes it much harder for a worker to feel better and capable of returning to work or even having healthy relationships with family and friends.

If you’re feeling stressed out, anxious, angry or depressed about your workers’ comp, Veterans Disability or Social Security Disability claim and feel like it’s impacting your health, first of all, please know you are not alone; but by all means, let us know. We want to help. You don’t have to deal with these feelings on your own.

Our goal is to make sure our clients receive maximum financial compensation for their injuries, the best medical care possible, the best psychological support and access to other resources that will aid in their recovery and improved well-being.

Talk to your physician about your pain and how it is affecting your emotions. Inquire about alternative treatments, counseling and pain and stress management techniques that might be helpful. Your attorney or paralegal may also be able to help with resources and professional recommendations.

Related Articles

Accommodation Reigns


by J. Lott Warren and Kara E. Shea

A recent 6th Circuit Court decision could have big implications for employers who don’t follow reasonable-accommodation standards within disability and medical-leave law to the letter.

Blue lungs behind white clock

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers: The Employment Law Issue


by Best Lawyers

Featuring the top legal talent from The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America and “Lawyer of the Year” recipients for Labor and Employment Law, Workers’ Compensation Law, ERISA Law and Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law.

Best Lawyers Employment Law Publication

Labour's Lost


by Alan S. Pierce

With apologies to the Bard: When it comes to potential COVID-19 exposure on the job, and the attendant workers’-compensation claims, to pay or not to pay? That is the question.

Workers' Compensation For Employees With COVI

One Reason Why Uber Is Fighting to Classify Drivers as Contractors


by Stephen Hasner

How Workers' Compensation Is Setting Up a Legal Battle

 Why Uber Wants Drivers as Contractors

Portugal Is Legislating Its Way to a Fairer Workplace


by Best Lawyers

Pedro Pardal Goulão of Morais Leitão discusses the big changes coming to Portugal in his "Law Firm of the Year" interview.

Gender Equality Law Portugal

Teamwork and Strategy


by Justin Smulison

In 2018, Block O'Toole & Murphy continued to secure multimillion-dollar results for injured victims and workers.

Block O'Toole & Murphy Gets Results

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues Landmark Workers’ Compensation Decision


by Dave Brown

The claimants’ workers’ compensation bar in Pennsylvania scored a significant victory when the state’s high court issued its decision in Protz v. WCAB.

Pennsylvania Workers' Comp

Colorado Broadens Scope of Workers’ Comp, but There’s More to Be Done


by Nick Fogel

When the law goes into effect in July, Colorado will join 32 other states in allowing PTSD claims for first responders without a physical component to the claim.

Colorado Workers' Compensation

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

Could Reign Supreme End with the Queen?


by Sara Collin

Canada is revisiting the notion of abolishing the monarchy after Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, but many Canadians and lawmakers are questioning if Canada could, should and would follow through.

Teacup on saucer over image of Queen's eye

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

IN PARTNERSHIP

2022: Another Banner Year


by John Fields

Block O’Toole & Murphy continues to secure some of New York’s highest results for personal injury matters.

Three men in business suits standing in office

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

The Upcycle Conundrum


by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Thirteen Years of Excellence


by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes