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How Anger Affects Pain Management

Apr 21, 2020 | Texas Partners Healthcare Group

Pain Leads to Plenty of Emotions, Both Positive and Negative

As humans, it’s natural for us to experience a whole myriad of emotions. Many of these emotions are pleasant, like happiness, joy, excitement, and love. However, there are some that we would rather not feel, such as frustration, embarrassment, sadness, fear, and anger. The latter can prove to be detrimental in many ways. When these negative emotions get out of control, they don’t just affect your mental health but your physical health, as well.

Those who suffer from chronic pain will experience a host of emotions as they go through pain management treatments, with anger being a frequent one. This anger can stem for several different reasons, and all of them are valid. Patients have every right to feel the way they feel, and it’s normal to feel and experience these emotions. However, when your anger begins to unravel and consume your life, it can affect your pain management and how you heal. In some instances, it can make your pain worse, causing you to experience more pain and discomfort.

It’s easy to become angry if you suffer from chronic pain, especially if you don’t see the progress you expect. However, it’s vital to always work towards staying levelheaded to stop your anger from preventing your pain management treatment from working. Texas Partners Healthcare Group is here to help you learn helpful techniques to keep your anger in check.

Anger’s Impact on Chronic Pain

Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel. Even though 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, they do not all have the same experience. Everyone will experience several different negative emotions that are a result of their chronic pain, such as fear, sadness, guilt, and shame. However, anger appears to be the most prominent emotion experienced by chronic pain patients. Countless factors can be the cause of your anger when experiencing chronic pain. You may be angry at the system for failing you or not properly helping you, at yourself, at the situation that caused your pain, at others, at the world, at the treatment you’re receiving, and much more.

Unfortunately, while anger is natural, this harmful emotion is destructive. It weighs you down, affecting your relationships and even impacting your pain management. If you never have control over your anger, you will constantly be in pain.

Worsens Pain

Your brain and your body are intrinsically tied together. Whatever mental and emotional state your mind is in will affect the rest of your body. Any emotional pain you experience will eventually become physical pain if you do not control it. Research has shown that anger is connected to increased levels of pain and decreased function in those living with a chronic pain condition. Anger creates adrenaline, which keeps your body’s nervous system in a hypersensitive state.

Anger also influences your body to release higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which research shows proves harmful in the long term, leading to stress, anxiety, and depression. These are also all symptoms of chronic pain themselves. If you let yourself feel angry too often, you will only increase your symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

However, if you try to stifle or suppress your anger, you can do just as much harm as letting it control you. In fact, repressing the anger you feel causes it to grow inside you. Research has found that trying to suppress your anger is linked to an increase in pain intensity.

As we mentioned, anger leads to increased levels of stress. Stress often results in physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and increased sensitivity to pain. Additionally, anger also raises your blood pressure and can cause migraines.

As you can imagine, all the symptoms related to anger affect your pain management. If you let your emotions become uncontrollable, they will hinder any progress you hope to gain through pain management plans. Although it may seem hard, you must remain levelheaded and manage your anger.

Controlling Your Anger

Individuals suffering from chronic pain will experience a host of negative emotions. There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, frustrated, or angry with your situation. It’s natural and healthy to allow yourself to feel these emotions. However, you must not let them consume your life. You must find healthy ways of expressing and channeling your anger. There are several ways you can do so, including:


Exercising is a great way to prevent your anger from controlling your life. Not only does it help you positively channel these emotions, but it can help you stay healthy and manage your pain.

Write It Down

As we said before, it’s natural to experience all kinds of emotions when suffering from chronic pain. In fact, it’s healthy to feel them. Writing down your emotions increases your awareness of where your emotional state is and allows you to monitor how you are feeling and when. You can cope with how you feel on your terms while acknowledging your feelings.

Talk to Someone

Conversely, you can always reach out to someone to talk about your emotions with. This person can be a family member, close friend, or a trained professional. Verbally admitting your struggles with anger puts you on the right step towards controlling it. Discussing your anger openly and honestly allows you to accept that these emotions are normal, helping you work through them better.


Deep breathing helps you calm down, slows your heart rate, and lowers your blood pressure. Mindful breathing counteracts the negative impacts anger has on your body. It also helps your body process pain better, reducing the hypersensitivity of your nervous system. Not only that, but it allows you to reflect and refocus on your mental and emotional state.

Everyone experiences a host of emotions throughout life. Chronic pain sufferers are more susceptible to suffering from negative emotions. These negative emotions, such as anger, can get in the way of your pain management and worsen your pain. You must learn to manage and control your emotions to allow your body to heal. If you need pain management treatment, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group today.