Widespread Pain Tied to Higher Dementia and Stroke Risk

Close up side profile photo beautiful she her lady arms hands hold back spine suffering terrible pain wear jeans denim striped pullover clothes bright comfort flat house living room indoors.New research suggests that widespread pain is linked to a heightened risk of all types of dementia and stroke. The study, published in the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, has found that the association is independent of any influential factors such as age, lifestyle, and general health.

As a common subtype of chronic pain, widespread pain may reflect musculoskeletal disorders. Previous research has also suggested that it may reliably predict cardiovascular disease, cancer, and peripheral arterial disease. It has also been linked to a risk of death.

An Early Indicator


As chronic pain is an early indicator of stroke and cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease, it’s not clear if the same risk is true for widespread pain. Researchers set out to find out if this relationship is similar.

For the study, data was used from 2,464 second-generation participants of the US long-term, multigenerational, community-based Framingham Heart Study, known as the Offspring Study. All participants were given a comprehensive check-up which included lab tests, a physical exam, and detailed pain assessments between 1990 and 1994.

Participants were divided into three pain groups including widespread pain, other pain, or no pain. According to the American College of Rheumatology criteria, widespread pain was classified as pain above and below the waist, on both sides of the body, the skull, backbone, and ribs.

Lifestyle factor information was collected from all participants. These included potentially influential factors such as evidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, weight, diet, employment status, depression scores, income, physical activity levels, and more.

During the first monitoring period, researchers found that 188 people had been diagnosed with some form of dementia, 50 of which had widespread pain and 138 of which did not.


They identified 139 people who had a stroke – 31 of whom had widespread pain, and 108 who did not.

Researchers concluded that after taking account of potentially influential factors, people with widespread pain were 43% more likely to have dementia, 47% were more like to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and 29% were more likely to have a stroke compared to those without widespread pain.

As an observational study, researchers caution that they cannot establish cause. However, they concluded, “These findings provide convincing evidence that [widespread pain] may be a risk factor for all-cause dementia, [Alzheimer’s disease], and stroke. This increased risk is independent of age, sex, multiple sociodemographic factors, and health status and behaviors.”

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.