Stress is bad for chronic pain

People with chronic pain are advised to manage their condition by avoiding stress – especially if they have a small hippocampus (part of the brain) as it is this group that is more vulnerable to stress.

A study published in Brain found that higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) are found in people who have a smaller hippocampus, and this leads to being more affected by pain.

“Our findings are useful in that they open up avenues for people who suffer from pain to find treatments that may decrease its impact and perhaps even prevent chronicity,” says the team. “To complement their medical treatment, pain sufferers can also work on their stress management and fear of pain by getting help from a psychologist and trying relaxation or meditation techniques.”