Blood Pressure Cuff Pain

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1771
   Posted Today 10:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I had an epiphany yesterday. I had to get my BP taken, and as usual, the BP cuff hurt like crazy. When I got home that night, my whole left arm was in extreme pain, and today, I'm hurting pretty badly from the waist up.

I had a light bulb idea moment and realized that the BP cuff probably doesn't hurt as badly for normal people AND it is probably what caused my flare. For the longest time, I just thought it was supposed to hurt that badly.

Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone know of an alternative way to get your blood pressure taken? Another way that fibro makes "normal" things "not so normal."

Hugs - Austen

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 1556
   Posted Today 10:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Austen have you tried the ones that you can buy at like wal-mart. These dont seem to hurt my arm as bad as when I go to the dr. Then again maybe Im just getting used to all these blood pressure tests. lol Sorry Im not more helpful here.
Gentle Hugs
DX: Fibro, Gerds, COPD, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, High Blood Pressure, and Depression.
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17497
   Posted Today 11:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Austen, I have that problem and ask that they don't inflate it so tight.  I also have a blood pressure machine I bought at Walmart that I can monitor my own BP and that cuff isn't bad at all.  But, yes, those hurt me.  I feel like my hand is going to explode if they pump it too tight.
Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1512
   Posted Today 1:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, the cuffs hurt me too, but fortunately it doesn't cause a flare. But I do seem to have nerve pain for a little while afterwards.
Hopefully they're using the right size. If you know what your systolic pressure usually is there, maybe you could tell them to try to only go a little above that. otherwise, they usually pump it up to like 180 without even thinking about it. Ouch.

Our pains are magnified. I just remembered once in my 20's, a girlfriend of mine was pushing back my cuticles with this nail thing she had. I almost past out. She couldn't believe it bothered me so much!

Another thing that really hurts me is the tourniquet they use when they draw blood.
Just make sure they're using the correct sized BP cuff. If they're using one that's too small, that will hurt even more (and give a falsely high reading).

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 454
   Posted Today 5:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I thought I was the only one who hurt from the bp cuff or it was suppose to hurt like that. The things I learn on here!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4906
   Posted Today 5:57 PM (GMT -7)   
They can take BP in wrist, or you can ask for a smaller cuff and ask them to not pump it up so high. Tell them how high your pressure usually goes.

BP cuff is a really good way of drawing blood too. If you're a hard stick, small veins or not many good ones left like me, ask them to use a BP cuff. Older docs know that trick, but almost nobody else. It's wider and doesn't hurt as much as a tight tourniquet. They can find a vein faster so you don't have to suffer as ong, and as many missed sticks.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 71
   Posted Today 6:31 PM (GMT -7)   
The blood pressure cuff KILLS me now, but didn't before the fibromonster got me. I have a wrist unit to use at home. My doctor had me bring it in to test it for accuracy (it passed). I donate my O-neg blood every eight weeks. The blood bank uses a cuff instead of a tourniquet. Hurts like h***, but I can tolerate almost anything for five minutes.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 67
   Posted Today 6:47 PM (GMT -7)   
I never thought about that till i read this, when i get my bp done it hurts so bad i so cant stand them doing it , i do wonder now if it hurts normal people the same way.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 795
   Posted Today 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
turn  I don't know if the cuff hurts normal people or not. I have never been normal, or so I've been told!   yeah LOL 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1771
   Posted Today 8:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, I guess I'm in good company. Thanks for all of the input. After all of this time having fibro, I still run around asking my family, "You mean that doesn't hurt you, too?' or "That's not SUPPOSED to hurt?" Sheesh. By now, you think I would have a little more awareness that "normal" people don't walk around in pain all of the time. I'm just so used to it, and it is such a part of my world that I don't even remember what it's like not to be in pain.

HappyCat, what kind of wrist monitor do you have? I tried one a couple of years ago, but it didn't work right, and I had to take it back. If I remember correctly, it didn't hurt as badly as the arm cuff.

I will remember to ask them not to make it so tight. Yesterday, they used one of those mechanical ones that squeezes way tighter than it needs to. I'll have to be a little more proactive next time.

Hugs - Austen

Irish Babe
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1380
   Posted 11/20/2010 7:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Austen,
Oh yeah, does that ever hurt! I have had a problem w/ the cuff and also the tourniquet. I have been taking several meds for HBP for several yrs, so each time I go to the dr they ck my bp. The dr also told me to get a set for home, to ck my DH's and my BP. I hurt so badly when it tightens. I feel like I'm gritting my teeth.
My DH was in the hospital awhile back, so at our follow up visit w/ dr, she told us DH was NOT to take his bp med if his diastolic was below 60. So I watched that like a hawk. Recently, my diastolic was 60 or below, so I didn't take my dose of meds. I had a visit w/ my cardiologist 2 days later and decided to bring a sample of my readings for the past wk. He was more concerned w/ my systolic. I couldn't hit 110. Many times in the mid-hi 90's, several low 100's. He had me reading my bp several times per day and to dose or NOT dose accordingly.
I had to go to my pcp yesterday for stuff re my DH, I wrote down all my numbers for the past few wks. My pcp's DH is also a dr and he saw us. He said I was off all bp meds and I was sent for immediate blood work. I'm waiting for the results. My numbers were low for quite awhile, but never in the drs office.
Regarding the tightness of the cuff, I find it more so when my systolic is lower than it should be. IF my sys is 110, the cuff is horrible, if my sys is lower, the cuff is unbearable. It is weird how you entertain yourself by trying to gauge your numbers by the level of pain. My arm hurts terribly after each test, so I dread the next test.
Someone at HW (I can't remember who - surprise! turn ) said if someone, even you, is taking your BP and the cuff stops inflating, then starts up again, stop the test, deflate the cuff and start over. That does happen to me, even in the drs office. My arm hurts unbearably w/ that mishap.
I am amazed at the things 'other' ppl don't find painful. Hopefully, we will all have a pain free day today and tomorrow and ...
God bless.  Alice. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1286
   Posted 11/20/2010 8:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Honestly I thought the bp cuff hurt everyone, guess not.  This is one weird syndrome we all have. 
And getting bloodwork is horrid for me.  After 6 (or 5) phlebotomies for a liver oriented disease (porphyria PCT) plus all the bloodwork & IV's the last 3 years my inside of my armsare scarred on the surface and underneath.  I hate looking the scars.

Spinning wheel
New Member

Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/25/2012 2:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Wish I had joined this several years ago. My BP is ALWays up when at my Internal Medicine appointment. Yet is low to normal when at school teaching (even in the midst of bad days), at the Y, or at my pain doctors... UNless I am having a pain flare, whether the Fibro or the RA is causing it.

My Internist still says I am mildly hyper-tensive. Yet it is mostly only UP with her. And she and nurses there insist in ratcheting it up as far as they can get it. I found years ago when working for a gynecologist that with my Normal BP of 110/68 I did not ever need to go much over 160 to get an accurate reading.

Now that I have RA, Fibro and other"myalgias" and deal with constant daily pain, the now mandatory (?) guidelines of going above 180 are Extremely painful and red for much longer than being in the doctor's office. I thought I was crazy. We have a wrist cuff that takes accurate readings on my husband and continues to read mine at normal to low, but I felt maybe I should have a new machine? I bought an automatic one so I could more easily take my own BP. Machine goes up on it's own to above 180 and cannot overide the setting. doctor wishes for me to take daily readings, (seriously I am proving it really IS only high with her; except when the machines go to 180 and above) I thought I would have more credibility with the regular cuff than the wrist monitor. But I am bringing pain on myself. I am no masochistic. The only time I ordinarily have high normal is during a bad pain day, or when my kidney disease rears it's head for a bout. How to prove this to this Dr??

Irish Babe
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1380
   Posted 6/25/2012 4:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Spinning Wheel and welcome to the Family!
I had posted previously, but this has been an ongoing problem w/ the drs. I told my pcp I am low when I'm home and it goes extremely high when I'm in her office. The last few times it was in 'stroke territory' - her words, not mine. I had taken my bp every day, as requested, and it was low. The day of my appt I brought my machine in w/ me and my list of readings. Finally, she 'heard' me. I am off of all bp meds.
I have had my machine and drs both start, stop, then start again. I stop my testing right then. I can't get an accurate reading off of either arm then, I wait a few hrs and do it again. My dr thinks the reading is valid, when this happens in her office. IDK
I think the stress of feeling terrible, packing all your stuff for the visit, the ride in, waiting your turn in uncomfortable chairs, etc, can bring up the #s. Then when they insist your bp must ALWAYS be high it just increases your stress.
My DH also comes for the dr visit. I take our bp tests together, so we know what the #s are for the other one. The dr still thinks it's odd. But then again, she is in very good health. :)
Maybe go back to the cuff one that workes so well for you and your DH. Keep a listing of all your reading and take that list and your machine to your next visit. I wish you luck.
God bless.  Alice.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 275
   Posted 6/25/2012 5:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I have this same problem. When I told the nurse at my gastro's office, she asked me "Your BP usually runs low, doesnt it?" Which is usually the case. She said we wouldnt have to inflate it as much, in that case, so I get away with less pain than usual. If you have a normal-low BP, you might ask about that.

Also, with the blood work--I get HUGE, horrible bruises within minutes of having blood drawn. And they are always very purple and blue--they really do look horrible. And they last for at least a week, many times longer.
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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 370
   Posted 6/25/2012 6:49 PM (GMT -7)   
I also have a wrist cuff. It probably saved my life a few years ago. Some ding dong freshly minted PCP put me on Lisinopril, in addition to the other 2 BP meds I was on. The addition almost killed me, she had never checked my other meds. Wacky readings like 60/45.

I had my wrist cuff checked at my cardios office, it is spot on. I got it at a small pharmacy in my town. Well worth it, doesn't hurt either
T2, OmniPod,Fibro,MVP,CAD,4 level cervical fusion, L5_S1 needs fusion, arthritis all over, need 2 knee replacements, Vit D3, and a lot of other meds!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 6/26/2012 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
It's so interesting that so many of us have this issue. Besides my pain/IBS etc. for years, what finally sent me to a new Dr. was my arm pain. I had not had my BP taken, but that's exactly how I would describe my pain. It was like I had a BP cuff on constantly. I couldn't let my arm hang even when I was laying down, had to have a pillow underneath it.

It's really my left arm - so I always have my BP and even blood drawn on my right side. For some reason, it's my left and I won't go through 6 weeks of that kind of pain again. It sent me to PT where the guy must have asked me 6 times "are you sure you haven't been in a car accident??"
(yeah I think I'd remember that). He couldn't help me - tried massage, tens unit etc.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 312
   Posted 6/26/2012 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Having my BP taken hurts a lot for me, too. The one my doctor uses pumps up so tightly that I've been in tears before it's over. It usually has to be redone or reinflated, too. I always end up with lines of petichiae on my arm afterward. I've pointed this out to my doctor and he says it happens to everyone....? I might have to ask to have it taken manually from now on. Mine always runs low normal anyway, partly due to the metoprolol I'm on.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 454
   Posted 6/26/2012 9:03 AM (GMT -7)   
It is very hard for them to get a reading for my bp. It also hurts like crazy. Drawing blood or starting iv's are a nightmare. They use a butterfly needle but it still hurts bad. They usu wind up taking my bp several times and changing bp cuffs. Sometimes they just give up. I thought i was going to go crazy when i was in the hospital they had to ck my bp and bld work so many times a day.
I had a chemical stress test yesterday and one of the first things i told them was the vein issue. I have been told they do everything they are not suppose to do.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/8/2012 6:45 PM (GMT -7)   
The cuff definitely does not hurt a "normal" person. Not like it does for us with Fibro. I never minded it a bit until a few years ago. Now I ate the thought of getting my BP taken. Of course, I also just developed high blood pressure after years of low blood pressure, so that means constant monitoring. I swear the pain of the cuff makes the BP go up! I just ordered a wrist monitor. I hope that solve the problem.

Sweet Chef
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/8/2012 10:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Absoultely. Those can hurt like H***. I tell the person doing it I have had problems and they bring out a more gentle cuff. Also, if they can do it manually instead of one of those machines that can reallly help.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/8/2012 11:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow. I'm sitting in the ER with my partner--both of us have FMS--and she is in terrible pain mad from an automatic blood pressure cuff, AS USUAL!

I thought I'd look up & see how many people have this problem, and all the results that came up talked about fibromyalgia! Wouldn't you know...

Can't believe researchers have actually PROVEN now that people with FMS have much more pain from blood pressure cuffs--much more than patients with other pain syndromes. Whenever you tell anyone we have FMS, they just nod and ignore it (and probably just consider us whiners).

A friend of ours is one of the hospital administrators, so maybe we'll try to raise her awareness...

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 101
   Posted 7/19/2012 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow! I just assumed that nasty BP cuff hurt everybody! That rubber band they put around my arm when they draw blood is so painful too. sad

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/20/2013 8:50 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been taking bp readings at home, twice a day, for many years. And, until recently, I NEVER experienced any pain. Over the past six months, it's been getting worse (to the point that sometimes I'm not willing to finish the reading). I've also noticed the past couple times that I've had blood drawn, the rubber band they place around my arm ALSO causes pain.

I've searched the internet a bit to see if I could figure out what is going on. And, this is the first discussion that I've come across that describes EXACTLY what I’m experiencing….guess I’ve have to read up on FIBRO.

Jasmine Grace
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 815
   Posted 6/20/2013 9:05 AM (GMT -7)   
I get pain when they take my blood pressure. It hurts!

Considering the new research about circulation problems being related to fibromyalgia pain, it makes sense...
Age: 18
Conditions: Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome / Crohn's disease?, allergies, dermatitis, low immunity, food intolerances, panic attacks, tinnitus, restless legs syndrome, slight scoliosis, etc.
Goals: to be an occupational therapist who specialises in treating people with blindness and people with fibromyalgia
To travel around the world
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