Your Blood Can Tell You About Your Pain

Your Blood Can Tell You About Your Pain

By Tiffany Rowe.

Pain can come in myriad forms, from burning to pinching to stinging to aching. Doctors can diagnose different issues using these differences in sensation - but only if patients can accurately describe how their pain feels.

Chronic pain patients have intimate knowledge of their discomfort; most spend every moment becoming more familiar with their hurt. Unfortunately, chronic pain patients can’t always explain their agony well enough for physicians to make diagnoses on descriptions alone. Thus, doctors must turn to other test for determining what could be wrong - like blood tests.

Your blood isn’t just a means of transporting oxygen and nutrients around your body. Your blood also carries important information about your health, and by testing your blood, doctors might be able to identify the source of your chronic pain. Here are a few common blood tests that often help chronic pain sufferers find relief:

Thyroid conditions are often difficult to diagnose because the thyroid affects nearly every system in your body. As a result, different thyroid sufferers experience vastly different symptoms, many of which are attributed to other issues. In addition to your pain, if you are experiencing changes in appetite, bowel troubles, skin and hair conditions, fluctuations in weight, or difficulty feeling awake or focused, it is worthwhile to find a walk-in clinic offering blood tests for thyroid issues.

CRP stands for C-Reactive Protein, which is a substance the body produces in the liver to respond to inflammation. As you might surmise, having high quantities of CRP in your blood indicates that you have an abundance of swelling, which can not only cause stiffness and pain but also threaten your life. If your doctor can’t identify obvious sources of inflammation, a CRP test might be critical for finding evidence of dangerous inflammation in and around your heart.

Your erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), also often called your sed rate, is another test for inflammation. Like the CRP, the ESR test will determine whether you have inflammation in your body, but it can also be used to track the severity of your inflammation. Typically, doctors run CRP and ESR tests at the same time to obtain a full picture of your body’s inflammation response.

Vitamin D
Chronic pain rarely encourages sufferers to spend time outside, but your time indoors might be a major contributing factor to your pain. Your body synthesizes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and a long-term lack of vitamin D increases your risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and cognitive disease. Achiness (or chronic pain) accompanied by a loss of ambition, sadness, and weight gain is a good reason to get a vitamin D test. Fortunately, the remedy for vitamin D deficiency is relatively simple: go outside often and drink more milk.

Vitamin B-12
B-12 is a difficult vitamin for most people to obtain sufficient amounts of, and if you don’t eat red meat or you enjoy a few alcoholic drinks every day, you might be suffering from a B-12 deficiency. Unfortunately, B-12 is vital for several important bodily functions, especially those of the nervous system, and an insufficient amount of B-12 has serious, long-term consequences. The sensation of pins and needles at different extremities, difficulty moving, and pale skin should send you to this blood test, fast.

Folic Acid
Another B vitamin, folic acid assists the body in producing essentially all the blood cells your body relies on to spread oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Women are often familiar with folic acid because it is a primary prenatal vitamin, but women are also more likely to be deficient in folic acid. Fortunately, a test for B-12 will also test for folic acid levels.

Magnesium is on the fast-track to become the latest and greatest cure-all - like turmeric was just a few months ago - but unlike other fad health treatments, the body needs magnesium. Without enough magnesium, your body had difficulty using other minerals, like calcium and potassium, which results in improper muscle and nerve function as well as erratic blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Still, too much magnesium has equally severe consequences, so before you self-medicate with magnesium-rich foods and supplements, you should get a blood test.

Though women are often lauded for a higher pain tolerance, in reality, men are better equipped to combat pain thanks to their greater levels of testosterone. Still, men and women experiencing chronic pain might have unnaturally low testosterone, which requires treatment to rectify. Understanding your testosterone level requires a relatively simple blood test which will likely look for other hormone imbalances, as well.

Tiffany Rowe lives in Las Vegas and blogs on a number of topics and works with

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Authored by: Tiffany Rowe

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Jackson M. Watkins

Thanks so much for this very informative article. In 1992, I was tested & confirmed to be Hiv+. In the early years of the disease, there were very few medication options. My Hiv numbers were good, so my doctor and I made the decision to hold off on treatment for a while. Once the “Hiv Cocktails” hit the market, I took a “Cocktail” that contained a drug by the name “Zerit”, also known as ddI. (Also referred to as a “D” drug among the gay community, which was notorious for causing Peripheral Neuropathy. After being off Zerit for a long while, I was eventually diagnosed with HIV Neuropathy, with my only symptom being that the bed covers felt like they weighed 50 lbs.

In 2004 after many “Cocktail” failures, and only a couple options left, my doctor switched me to one of those options, adding “Zerit” (ddI) as a booster drug. Within a week, my feet started hurting terribly, burning like crazy & tingling. I assumed because I had been on Zerit before with no problems, that wasn’t the issue now, and maybe my body needed to get use to one of the Cocktail drugs. After a couple of weeks, I went to see my Physician and she immediately took me off the medication. Unfortunately the damage had been done. I have lived with horrific Peripheral Neuropathy symptoms since July, 2004. My Hiv Physician sent me to an excellent Neurologist that specializes with HIV patients and that is the key. He has taught me the importance about blood test, Testosterone Levels, Folic Acid and B12 levels and what a vital role they play. If my B12 level drops to much, I know immediately because my feet start burning a great deal more than usual. Peripheral Neuropathy is a terrible disease to have to learn to live with, but with the right doctors, hard lessons learned and periodic blood test, learning to cope is possible. Thanks again.

Truly, pain has a lot to do with the presence of the testosterone. The presence of the low level of testosterone in women has made them prone to chronic pains. A testosterone therapy is always going to help in the process of relieving pain.

CRP and ESR blood tests. I would like to know more also as Mr. Dunn. If these tests really tell your doctors more about your pain and is it something they just do or do you have to ask for it and does ones insurance pay for it?…. On second thought, never mind. Due to this ludicrous opioid injustice there’s nothing more they can do for our pain now anyway. As far as the thyroid test, by all means if you feel this way go. I suffered something horribly with hypothyroidism until I was put on the name brand drug called Synthroid. If you’re gaining weight and can’t eat, if you are absolutely exhausted for no reason and don’t know why, then go. If all of a sudden you feel very anxious and for no reason at all, then go. Doctors are more than happy to test your thyroid. This I do know. As stated in the story above if your thyroid levels are off it can affect you in ways you never dreamed. It can make you feel as though you’re losing control. I’m vitamin D deficient though anything other than milk gives me kidney stones. If you can make it out in the sunshine then by all means do so, it is a great healer. I take vitamin B12 everyday, for on my own I did my homework and found that it can give extra energy and help calm anxiety. Maybe this will help someone out there. In the meantime I continue to pray to God that he will intervene in this hideous mess they’ve created and call an opioid crisis. That He will save us all!!! Hopefully very soon. In the meantime prayers I continuously say for each and everyone of you with faith. Take care…


I agree with this article and it makes sense after blood tests of the C-Reactive Protein and mine being high why my doctor believed that meds I had were not controling pain and med dose was upped.

carl s. dunn

I would like to ask a question as I read of all the wonderful options available to test for pain conditions and it is this: what doctors and what blood testing labs are specifically equipped to either test for these markers as a whole package for pain markers in the blood or is the doctor even aware of these options? When do you the writer believe the medical establishment will begin testing using a formulated series specific for pain? Will the insurance companies allow it? Will it be viewed as hokum by the government? Is the testing and results considered valid? I would like to know the state of affairs concerning the view held by the aforementioned above. I notice you use the word “might” as in the “doctor might find” or “might be able to” identify these markers in your blood. I understand medical arts is a practicing art and nothing is exact with the human body, but tests are expensive! Hopefully, a standardized form of testing for pain markers can be formulated at some time in the future specifically for pain and considered a valid method of testing by the medical establishment.