The Link Between Chronic Pain and Fatigue

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The Link Between Chronic Pain and Fatigue

Pain is a universal human experience. Pain reflects injury or illness, and it’s normal for it to come and go. Unfortunately for many, chronic pain can develop from many conditions. There’s a strong connection between pain and fatigue.

About 50 million Americans live with chronic pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pain is only the beginning of the problem, as living with it can interfere with your daily quality of life. There’s a link between chronic pain and fatigue, adding to the burden. 

Specialists in the control of pain from a wide range of causes, the team at Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management understands your need to minimize the effects of chronic pain, no matter what its origin. We know that reducing your pain experience eases secondary effects like fatigue. 

Why chronic pain makes you tired

Fatigue, like pain, is a natural part of life that everyone experiences since it happens for many reasons. You might be tired from a hard day at work or an intense activity. Stress can wear you down, or you might stay up too late reading a book. 

Dealing with constant pain is hard work on its own, and it’s not a temporary condition from which you recover. Chronic pain presents an enormous physical and mental burden that’s not easy to avoid. Here are a few ways in which pain and fatigue intertwine. 

Reduced activity

It’s natural to avoid activity when you’re in pain, particularly when movement aggravates your pain. However, reduced activity leads to loss of energy, since your body is meant to move.


Many of your natural healing systems depend on the cardiovascular stimulation of mild to moderate activities like walking. When chronic pain interferes with your ability to move, energy levels plummet, making it even harder to keep basic activity levels in your life. 

Sleep disruption

If your pain interferes with a normal sleep cycle, disturbing you through the night, you lose out on another pain management process. Deep sleep is an important recovery stage and harder to obtain if you’re disturbed by pain symptoms.

You may not even be aware of sleep interruptions since you don’t need to fully awaken to adjust positions because of pain. When your alarm clock says you had a full night’s sleep but your body feels fatigued from the moment you rise, chronic pain may be the culprit. 

Stress of pain

Your body responds to stress with a series of physical changes, an adrenaline event often described as the fight-or-flight response. 

These changes help you cope with a surprising or dangerous situation, speeding your responses, suppressing pain, and enhancing focus. When the immediate danger passes, the chemical changes reverse and the effects of stress subside. 

Chronic pain, though, doesn’t pass, forcing your body into a constant state of stress. The chemical changes meant for a temporary situation now trigger constantly in response to your ongoing pain. That is another burden that connects pain to fatigue. 

The best way to break the link between pain and fatigue is effective management of pain. That’s what we do at Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management. With locations in West Des Moines and Des Moines, Iowa, we’re conveniently located to help you. Call or click to schedule a consultation today.