Does anyone else find having their blood pressure taken painful & if so how have you over come this problem? Thanks.

I recently went into hospital & had to have my blood pressure done (hadn't had it done for years & years!!) The machine blood pressure unit sent me through the roof & probably put my BP right up!!! Eventually I got nurses to do it using the old-fashioned method but even that was painful & has stirred up my fibro terribly. I'd be so so grateful for others to share their experiences here as many of the staff were very unsympathetic & just couldn't understand my pain. Occasionally there would be the odd one who would be oh so kind & gentle, taking it slowly manually but they, sadly, were few & far between. I do understand the importance of it (I used to be a nurse) but found arms & legs far too painful to tolerate it. Any insight into this would be so very much appreciated. Thanks.

31 Replies

  • I hate having my bloodpressure done and when I told the nurse she said unfortunatly as your bloodpressure is high the pressure is stronger and it does hurt but only for a while. I even get bruised with the pressure as my white platelets are low. My arm looks like someome pinched me all round the area.

    I would like to know how to get around it too.

    Hope you soon feel better

    Gentle hugs x x x

  • Thank you for your reply rainbowdancer :-)

    Although I'm obviously sorry that you also experience this but, as always, it's nice to know that you're not alone with a problem!! I found that my whole arm down to the finger tips went blue, then white & then my arm hurt then the pain spread and spread. The additional problem that I had was that 10 years ago I had a grade 4 breast cancer with lots of lymph nodes removed on my right side. Now my right arm has lymphoedema (swelling due to lack of movement of the lymph), which gets infected from time to time. This is what has just happened & I nearly ended up in Critical Care with it this time, avoided by use of the a new antibiotic, thank God. Anyway, this means that only my left arm/hand for all medical incursions (BP, needles etc). Having had extensive chemo through that arm hardly any veins exist still so things are always difficult & having my BP done on that arm actually shut the veins down even more & stopped several IVs working!! Not good when they take anywhere to a couple of hours to re-site... My BP is usually quite low but I do recognise that it's important & didn't like having to make such a fuss every time they came to do it. We eventually agreed that someone did it just once a day (8 times a day is far too much!!), manually the old fashioned way & most importantly SLOWLY - the manual device (called a Sphygmomanometer) doesn't exert any where near the amount of pressure that the machines does (they are incredibly painful) & can be done slowly & as gently as possible. Unfortunately there were many staff that just thought my pain was stupid & fanciful!! If only eh...?

    I really don't think that there is a way around this but was rather desperate to know that I'm not the only one who finds this painful! If any of you reading this share this experience then please just write to agree, then I will know that it's a problem truly shared... Then I won't feel quite so bad making these protests & feel able to continue to do so. After all, if there's you & I then I feel there will be others & awareness of this needs to be raised to help us all. :-) xx

  • hi, I was told that the machine finds it hard to read womens' arms. I have sore arm for days. The machine gets so tight and then says error! however, because my fingers twitched crazily, they were able to diagnose calcium deficiency.

    regards, sandra.

  • Thanks for your reply Sandra

    Again I'm sorry for your problems but feel less alone because we have experienced similar difficulties... I'm very glad that a diagnosis was able to be reached to help you though with your calcium deficiency. :-)

  • hi yes i to am in agony when having bp taken buy any method, tc soma x

  • bp machines cause me great pain.

    i never used to have a problem but in the past couple of years it's become worse and worse. i dread having my bp taken now.

    last time my doc tried 3 times and she could see i was in a lot of pain so she said hse didn't want to put me through that again that day but i had to get it done the following week when i went to get bloods taken.

    so, again, 3 times the nurse tried - luckily it worked on the 3rd attempt. she was supposed to take it 3 times and take the average, but as she could also see i was in pain, she decided that once was enough!

  • Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry that you, too, experience this problem & am glad that, at least, your surgery seem sensitive to how distressing it is for you... It must be a nightmare if you have to go through this on a regular basis. Gentle Hugs xxx

  • Thanks for letting me know ~ every comment helps me know that I'm not alone! :-) xx

  • I find the wrist cuff machines don't hurt.


  • I was wondering about the wrist cuffs - they are not supposed to be quite as accurate but for most things medical staff just need to know too high or not too high!

    Julie xx

  • At the moment I have an IV in my wrist (I know it's not ideal but only veins available) but haven't ever seen these wrist cuffs???? I left nursing 11 years ago now so am out of the loop with what's around, do all surgeries/hospitals have them? No-one mentioned them to me. Thing is my wrists are HYPER HYPER sensitive to pressure & pain :-(... when they were putting the IV in I was on the ceiling - have to have a cut down job tomorrow for a deep vein in my arm so I could possibly give the wrist cuffs a go then but need to know what to ask for... Obviously I only have the one wrist for them to do a BP on so it reduces the option but I'm very grateful for your interest & replies. Grateful thanks. xx

  • hi i had mine done and it was murder, i screamed and the nurse said next time you have it done ask them to do it on your foot, not had it done since so i dont know if it works, but you could ask. kas xx

  • Thanks Kas

    Unfortunately my feet are super painful :-( they did suggest using my legs etc but ankles, knees etc are all the same... Thank you for your suggestion though. When I went in to have my IV infusion today they didn't do my BP, for which I was very thankful!! ;-)

    Gentle hugs... xx

  • the wrist cuff at my surgery is part of a machine that checks weight, height, b.p., pulse and works out bmi. There are personal ones for about £20. So far, the gp does the manual arm cuff too and there's little difference in the reading, but he says it's the arm one he trusts.

    regards, sandra.

  • Have same probs too. Last week tried the new POD in the surgery and felt like my arm was gonna explode, it then wanted average of 3 attempts. I thought stuff that. Saw GP she tried and as per usual with no success. The 1st reading on pod was high so I have to go back and see a nurse and get them to do it. They have trouble finding my pulse for some strange reason. No I am not dead coz I can still feel pain. DO NOT USE THE STRANGE POD MACHINES so paiiiiiiinful.

  • Thanks for your replies ~ and for the useful info, which all helps as does knowing yet again that others experience the same painful difficulties. :-( Interesting how different professionals' responses are to this problem too. xx

  • Dear Celticmoon,

    Hope you are not suffering too much and are at least settled, I too cannot bear having my blood pressure taken, I always yell out loud, since way last year, and if anything it's worse every time I get it taken, I just cant help myself, I know they look at you as if you've 10 heads but it's such a bad pain until it loosens, and then it's really painful for a long time afterwards, fond regards Claire xxxxx

  • Hi there Claire

    I've had a really bad day today at the hospital. It took 4 doctors 2 hours to re-site my IV (I have bad veins due to having had chemo & years & years of problems...). All in all I had to endure 15 attempts through painful scarred veins, which defeated three doctors who were meant to be very skilled at getting a cannula in. Still it's in again, for now! Whether it will work tomorrow I just don't know...

    Anyway the point I was going to make was that the staff today were WONDERFUL, just fantastic. No-one forced me to have my blood pressure done, the Microbiology team even waved the blood tests I should have had - well no one was volunteering to try & get blood anyway but my consultant's reasoning (which I thought was soooooo sensible) was that I was obviously feeling better, I wasn't dizzy, experiencing heart-racing or any other symptoms that indicated a problem & my arm (the reason I am having the treatment) was looking better so she concluded that all was well!!

    WHAT a huge mahoosive difference it makes when you get a set of lovely people! I just don't know why the miserable petty negative nasties take to nursing...??? My advice to them is to go & get a job that doesn't involve hurting human flesh or sensitive dispositions!!!!!

    Again, Claire, it's always good to hear that you're not alone with a problem - I know it means that others are suffering too but it does tend to make you feel better! Thanks.

    Gentle Hugs xx

  • I find blood pressure test very painful and causing a high reading.

  • Omg I'm not alone, I thought I was weird cos it always hurts, so I'm not the only one

  • Yes my nurse at my local doctors really hurts me when taking my blood pressure.she does not even try to understand or my g.p when i tell her that it totally stings my fat arm and sends mt blood pressure up due to how tight she does it

  • My freind has Fybromyalgia and she said they use something that she puts her finger in as it is just too painful with her condition to have the arm one done.They have at the hospital.

    Im dreading having mine doe and have to in 11 days, it stings so bad i could cry.

  • I also find the pain unbearable and can't see how something so painful can not be hurting my body. I refused today and the nurse said I could not get the results of a medical test that had nothing to do with blood pressure. I almost was kicked out of the medical clinic. The doctor gave me my test results anyway but was not happy, saying they will blame him for my "noncompliance." Next time I will try the wrist kind of they have it.

    Claire in California Clinic

  • I also experience excruciating pain when my blood pressure is taken. I also have had some sarcastic comments when I mentioned to the Mammogram nurse that the pain was so bad I could pass out when I have a mammogram - she just said it is just uncomfortable - yeah right!!

    Plus I can't have smears any more as that is even more painful!!

  • Same here!

  • Yes, I have awful pain. I have fat arms so wonder if it is that. I try not to panic but once you have had a bad experience it is hard not to freak out having BP taken!

  • Wow, I was just googling about this and it took me straight to the Fibro community where I am a member! I've put a post up in here before about it I'm sure.

    Yes those automatic inflating cuffs give me excruciating pain. I asked for my BP to be done at the pharmacy today but she only had one with an automatic cuff...i thought I would brave it although I always avoid them if poss because I feel like they are strangulating my arm!! That was the case today. Needless to say my BP was up! I prefer the manual ones, though painful they are not quite so bad. I was actually looking online and reading around wrist ones when i was directed here re the pain! Shouldn't have been surprised really. x

  • I was just at the doc yesterday and pb was 160/90 I couldn't take it a second time. Doc put me on bp meds. So whats going to happen when I go in for a bp checkup again after taking the pb lowering meds. Its still going to bring my pb up because I cant tolerate it! I bought a pb cuff at Walgreens and I have to stop it mid way because it hurts so bad.

    Trying different things to see what might work!

  • The manual ones are better. All GPs should have them. I can't tolerate the automatic ones. At least with the manual ones they can inflate it more slowly.

  • I too have an issue getting my blood pressure taken... To the point where it's a danger to my health!

    I had cataract surgery yesterday. I explained I have issues when getting it done.told the nurse how painful it is to do

    So how about let's take my blood pressure while we operate... I'm really hoping there is no damage. How can you expect someone not to react?

  • I find the manual ones, though painful, are just about tolerable, whereas the automatic inflator cuff ones I can't tolerate. Screaming out on pain agony. With the manual ones they can at least do it a bit more slowly.

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