Does Being in Chronic Pain Burn Calories

Does Being in Chronic Pain Burn Calories?‍

Chronic pain is exhausting. It takes a lot of your energy and does not leave you with much when you are done. In fact, the stress associated with constantly feeling under attack can often leave people exhausted and disoriented. This makes it easy to see why being in chronic pain would lead someone to burn calories at an accelerated rate.

The body is designed to expend energy when under threat from danger or acute stressors such as hunger, thirst, or cold exposure. When it senses that the threat has passed, however, the body begins to rest and conserve energy so that it will have it available for future use if needed.

The most common way that our bodies expend energy is by functioning in a state of high activity (Catabolic) or low activity (Anabolic). What this means is that when we are active, our muscles use energy quickly. 

We also burn more calories at rest than we do during normal activities. That’s because our bodies require more oxygen and nutrients at rest than they do while doing other things such as reading, walking down the street, etc. However, this does not mean that we cannot burn calories during other times of day too! It just means that our bodies will naturally expand their energy first before we need them for future work.

What Happens When You Burn Calories?

The process that our bodies use to expend energy is very similar regardless of the activity. It begins in the cells with the intake of oxygen and nutrients that the body needs to function. The cells then break down the oxygen and nutrients into a form available for the body’s use. As the cells use up the oxygen and nutrients, the body’s metabolism slows until it is time for the cells to rest and restore themselves so that they can be ready to function again in the future.

This process is called respiration, and it is what allows us to burn calories. When we exercise, our muscles work harder, require more oxygen and nutrients, and are fatigued and exhausted when they are finished working. 

Our bodies do not have excess energy to spare, so they burn off the calories in our muscles to restore their energy levels and help us relax. The same thing happens when we are in pain. If we do not take steps to relax and restore our energy levels, we can burn off calories at an accelerated rate.

How Many Calories Are Burned While in Pain?

Studies on people who are in pain are few and far between, but what data they do have suggests that people with chronic pain are more likely than those without pain to experience feelings of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and low energy. It is important to remember that these feelings are normal, and everyone experiences them to some degree. It is only when you feel them consistently and intensely that you may be putting your health at risk.

It is also important to note that there are many factors that can impact your calorie expenditure and intakes, such as medical conditions, medication, diet, and other activities that may change your daily routine. 

With that in mind, researchers have attempted to create an estimate of the number of calories that are burned by people in chronic pain. Based on the available data, they estimate that people with chronic pain may expend approximately 250 calories more per day than those without the condition. This is based on the difference in daily activity levels between those with chronic pain and people without pain, the effect that pain has on appetite and nutrient intake, and the metabolic rate at rest.

3 Tips for Burning More Calories While in Pain

– Start a journal. You’re not just logging your pain experiences in a journal; you’re also logging your intake and expenditure of calories. If you start a journal, you’ll naturally find yourself better able to track your intake and expenditure of calories.

– Schedule Pain Management appointments. It is important to keep your appointments with your doctor and other health care providers. These visits are an excellent opportunity to track your intake and expenditure of calories.

– Schedule social activities. Chronic pain can make it difficult to get out and socialize with friends or participate in recreational activities such as bowling or golf. You may be surprised at how burning calories you are getting by getting out and interacting with others can positively impact your mood.


Being in pain is exhausting and challenging. It can make eating healthy foods and managing stress difficult. Fortunately, it is possible to increase your calories burned by taking steps to relax and regulate your stress.  If you have been experiencing pain for an extended period of time, you may need to make some adjustments to your diet. Eating a healthy diet high in complex carbohydrates and protein will provide fuel for your body and assist in lowering your pain levels.

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