Anger Can Worsen Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects more than one in five American adults, and about 8% have symptoms severe enough to cause a significant impact on their quality of life. This type of pain has been linked to a wide range of physical and mental conditions.

Regardless of the underlying reason for your chronic pain, feelings of anger can play a significant role in complicating your pain-management efforts. Even worse, anger may emerge from the frustrations you experience because of your pain, a negative feedback loop where one condition feeds the other.

Whether anger is a problem you experience or not, getting chronic pain under control is essential to your quality of life. The doctors at Valley Pain Centers are your partners in pain management, experienced professionals at the leading edge of their field. In this blog, they explain how anger can worsen your chronic pain.

Amplifying pain

Angry feelings can act as a force multiplier when it comes to pain, particularly if you suppress expressions of anger. Your emotional condition can influence your physical condition, and angry emotions can cause changes in the chemical activity of your brain. Anger acts as an untreated injury that can fester and grow. Without resolving angry feelings, your chronic pain can intensify.

Negative coping strategies

The additional strain that anger can add may interfere with your judgement. You may turn to alcohol or other substances for temporary relief. Abuse of pain medications can also become a problem when anger enters the picture, leading to dependence and addiction issues. 

Damage to social relationships

Lingering anger isn’t something most people experience alone. The frustrations arising from both chronic pain and suppressed anger can cause the most even-tempered person to lash out at those around them. Often, the victims are part of your inner circle, the friends and family you turn to for support. This could put a strain on these relationships and add additional challenges to your anger and pain levels.

Anger as a secondary emotion

Feelings of inadequacy, fear, and hurt are natural reactions to chronic pain, and sometimes anger can form as a defense against these other, more primal emotions. Chronic pain can force an inward focus that many people may find uncomfortable, and anger can shield these vulnerabilities by providing an outward focus to cover vulnerabilities. Managing anger could be an ongoing part of your chronic pain treatment.


Chronic pain can be difficult to manage on your own, and anger can add to the burden. We can help you manage your chronic pain. At Valley Pain Centers, with three convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix, Peoria, and Scottsdale, you are never just a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. We have several experienced physicians who can help you, including Toure Knighton, MD, Dinesh Chinthagada, MD, Jin Yuk, MD and David Kush, MD. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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