Pain can be the result of many causes including injury, infection, arthritis, nerve damage, etc. But for many, there is an underlying inflammatory component with any condition that not only adds to pain but prevents healing and tissue repair.
So what do your hormones have to do with this?
chronic pain and inflammation can be precursors to hormone imbalance related specifically to estrogen, testosterone, progestrone and cortisol.
Estradiol: Having lower than “optimal” estrogen levels has been repeatedly linked to osteoarthritis as estrogens influence the way joint tissues help with bone production and re-building, promoting muscle growth as well as decreasing muscle breakdown.
Testosterone: Testosterone contributes to the buildup and strengthening of tissues and has also been shown to reduce inflammatory markers. This is helpful for pain management because, in general, lower inflammation levels can help to minimize pain and pain-related symptoms.
Progesterone: Progesterone well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. More specifically, progesterone has been shown to reduce neuropathic pain, which is a complex, chronic pain involving nerve damage.
Cortisol: Released by the body in high-stress, unexpected situations (think a loud noise that terrifies you or an unexpected misstep that almost sends you falling down the stairs) to enable fast recovery in the system, one of the primary roles of cortisol in the body is to minimize inflammation and control your body’s immune response. But continuous, ongoing stress and stimulation of your adrenal glands (as in the case of chronic pain) can lead to a depletion of cortisol, allowing inflammatory processes within your body to overstimulate, leading to swelling, pain and even tissue damage.
Managing any hormonal imbalance caused by chronic pain can help to minimize symptoms and improve quality of life.