All Things Heart - Chronic Pain and the Heart

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Most of us have experienced an injury that left us in pain. It usually clears up in a few days or so. That's not the case for Toni Nicotera. She injured her back in December 2021 after lunging for her dog. Doctors diagnosed her with a bulging disc. The pain was excruciating and constant. She struggles with chronic pain, pain which lasts longer than 12 weeks after receiving treatment or medication. The CDC found 1 in 5 adults had chronic pain in 2016, limiting their work and daily activities. Chronic pain can lead to heart problems. Stress and anxiety can elevate your blood pressure and pulse. Over time, that can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death. All Things Heart explores how physical therapy helped Toni feel in control of her life. Plus, cardiologist Dr. Michael Piepoline explains what she can do to prevent heart problems.


  • Toni Nicotera, Patient 
  • Dr. Michael Pierpoline, Cardiologist 
  • Thomas Riggs, Physical Therapist