Confrontations Cause Chronic Inflammation

Published on: Modified on:



If you’re the type who constantly butts heads with others, you could wind up with more than a painful headache; frequent confrontations lead to chronic inflammation, according to a recent study on negative social interactions and chronic pain from  heightened inflammation.


Negative social interactions are bad for your health

We know that stress affects our health.  Scientists wanted to know if how we interact with other people bears any impact on our physical well-being or chronic pain.  They conducted a study, Negative and competitive social interactions are related to heightened proinflammatory cytokine activity, published by PNAS, in an effort to determine if people who regularly engage in social conflict suffer from more ailments like chronic inflammation than people who choose to avoid confrontations.

  • For this study, scientists measured inflammation by the amount of cytokines in each test subject.
  • One-hundred twenty-two healthy individuals were instructed to log into diaries for eight days.  They were told to list any positive, negative, or competitive social interactions that they experienced during the study.
  • Participants subjected themselves to laboratory-controlled stress tests.
  • Negative social interactions and competitive social interactions resulted in the most elevated levels of cytokines, an indicator of inflammation.
  • A similar 2006 study confirmed that people who suffer from depression are also more prone to increased inflammation.

Overcoming Social Isolation in Migraine Disorder

How much is too much?

If you’re in a field that requires you to engage in arguments on a regular basis, then it’s important to try to keep it to a healthy level.  Whether you’re a lawyer, football coach, or star member of a debate team, you need to establish a balance between productive confrontations and all-out hostilities.

Is inflammation always a bad thing?

Regular inflammation like pain is a part of your body’s natural defense mechanism, an autoimmune response that protects you from danger.  However, chronic inflammation can cause chronic pain, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Please tell us: Do you consider yourself competitive? How do you keep daily confrontations from getting ugly?

We welcome your comments!

Read more about stress and migraines:

Can Anxiety Attacks cause Migraines?

Your Headaches With Yoga: Try These Moves!

New Study Warns against Taking these Painkillers with Antidepressants


Negative and competitive social interactions are related to heightened proinflammatory cytokine activity

Stressful Arguments Linked With Increased Inflammation

Chronic Inflammation: Reduce It to Protect Your Health


Sebastian Fritzon