Chronic Pain Patients Are at Higher Risk for Coronavirus – By Lynn Webster, M.D. – Feb 2020
In this article Dr. Webster makes an important point: the ravages of chronic pain affect our susceptibility to other illnesses because our whole bodies, including our immune system, are affected by the constant stress brought about by this constant biological state of high alert.
It might be worthwhile showing this article (link above) to your doctor, including the scientific article explaining the research (link below).
The people with increased risk for experiencing severe symptoms, and possibly dying of COVID-19, are seniors and those with chronic illness.
Of course, people in chronic pain are part of this risk group.
People with chronic pain may be more susceptible to viruses in general,because chronic pain can change the way our immune systems work.
McGill University researchers found that “chronic pain changes the way DNA is marked, not only in the brain but also in T cells, a type of white blood cell essential for immunity.”
About Dr. Lynn Webster
Lynn Webster M.D., FACPM, FASAM is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at PRA Healthsciences and a Past President of AAPM. He is board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine and also is certified in addiction medicine.
Impact of chronic pain on the immune system revealed – by Alice Weatherston – Aug 2016
This is by now an old article on the damage done by chronic pain, proving untreated pain is NOT harmless as the public, regulators, and even most doctors seem to believe.
The research team in the current study examined DNA from the brain and white blood cells of rats using methyl marks. “Methyl marks are important for regulating how these genes function,” explained co-author Laura Stone (McGill University).
The team discovered that chronic pain alters the way DNA is marked at an epigenetic level in both the brain and in the T cells of the animals.
Yet the damage of such epigenetic changes is never taken into account when pain patients are told to simply “tolerate” their constant pain.
There has been little research on this troubling “side-effect” of our pain, probably because no research supporting the importance of reducing pain is being funded in this current anti-opioid hype campaign.
If research on the damages wrought by chronic pain were conducted, we might learn why our pain causes us so much incapacity, not just physical but mental and emotional as well.
I’ve found proof for and blogged about this damage consistently over the years.:
These two pages have lists and short excerpts from many articles that you can show your doctor to prove your pain is a physical problem, not just a mental and emotional state.
Unfortunately, doctors often assume our pain isn’t damaging in itself because that’s what they are taught in medical school. These articles, many of which are scientific studies, prove our pain definitely degrades our general health.
You can also use the tag ‘PAIN-DAMAGE‘ to find all posts supporting this.
“We were surprised by the sheer number of genes that were marked by the chronic pain — hundreds to thousands of different genes were changed,” commented Moshe Szyf (McGill University).
“Our findings highlight the devastating impact of chronic pain on other important parts of the body such as the immune system” added Szyf.
This is proof that it’s critical for good health that chronic pain be treated and kept to manageable levels. Simply taking away opioids is even more “dangerous” than allowing their use to control pain (for all but the 1-3% who are susceptible to addiction).
“We can now consider the implications that chronic pain might have on other systems in the body that we don’t normally associate with pain,” continued Szyf.
The team hope to identify new opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain in humans, utilizing the genetic markers of chronic pain as targets for novel medications.
(I can’t resist pointing out that this scientist has a Polish name similar to my alias, which is a jumble from my Polish last name. The name Szyf is pronounced Shiff, and Zyp Czyk, which is pronounced Zip Chick.)
See also a previous post: Chronic pain changes our immune systems