How Stress Can Affect Your Joint Health
Many people only see stress as a psychological problem, but unfortunately, it can influence more than just our minds. Physical symptoms of stress may include low energy levels, headaches, aches and pains and frequent colds and infections . With seven out of ten adults in the United States alone saying they experience stress daily , we should be working together to find ways to better cope with, and prevent stress.
Divide Up Chores Among Your Family
Leave your superhero cape at the door. When it comes to lessening stress, one of the best things you can do is to allow your loved ones to take on more responsibility, Elizabeth says. Even though her children are small they can still do age-appropriate tasks like picking up toys, putting away clothing, or setting the table. Her husband also picks up the slack on days when shes feeling overwhelmed or in pain. Just remember to let them do the task their way as long as it gets done it doesnt matter if its exactly the way you would have done it.
Symptoms Of Stress And Anxiety
Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. In small doses, the stress response can improve alertness and sharpen senses however, chronic stress can lead to serious problems such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal problems, and autoimmune disease. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms on an ongoing basis.
- Frequent colds or infections
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Stress And Arthritis Can Be A Vicious Cycle Any One Of These Tips Can Help You Improve Your Stress Management And Coping Strategies
Fact: Having a chronic illness like arthritis can make you stressed. Also a fact: Being stressed can make your arthritis worse. And even knowing these facts is stressful. Figuring out how to deal with the stresses of your illness on top of those from your everyday life should be one of your top priorities, but its easy to get overwhelmed.
When Mathias P., of Portland, Oregon, was first diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis he went into a tailspin. I was just 28, I was super fit, I didnt fit the profile of someone with arthritis, and I was devastated, he says.
The stress of the diagnosis worsened his AS flare-ups and before long he was almost fully disabled. In addition, the stress caused other symptoms including hair loss, cold sores, weakness, headaches, increased pain, and crushing depression. In the span of a month I went from a guy who had some pain but still did stuff to a person defined by my illness. I was so miserable I even briefly thought about ending my own life because I couldnt see a future like this, he confesses.
At his next doctors appointment, he told his doctor about all the symptoms that seemed to appear out of nowhere. I told him, I feel like Ive lost everything I love about my life and Ill never forget what he said next, Mathias says. He just looked at me and asked Why? You can still do all those things you just might have to do them differently now. It was like a light went on and I felt so much less stressed about my future.
Why The Immune System Is Sometimes The Culprit In Joint Pain
When you suffer a joint injury maybe a banged-up knee or a twisted ankle a little inflammation is part of the healing process. Puffy, red, tender joints may indicate that your immune system is working to remove damage and promote the growth of new tissue, a healthy kind of inflammation. But sometimes the immune system launches unhealthy, chronic inflammation in the joints, for no apparent reason. This leads to pain, stiffness, and joint damage known as inflammatory arthritis.
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Can Stress Make Muscle And Joint Pain Worse Or Causes Pain
The inflammatory cytokines can travel to the tissues of the muscles or joint spaces and cause irritation. They also play a role in mediating the pain response by lowering our threshold. This means we are more sensitive, and lower levels of these chemical agents produce the sensation of pain.
There is even some research looking at cancer cells role in producing inflammatory cytokines. This would contribute to the overall experience of pain in those battling the condition.
To give you further insight, consider that certain cytokines even play a role in reducing bone mineral density which puts you at an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life.
How Does Stress Cause Joint Pain
You may develop anxiety joint pain due to many different causes. Here are some explanations of how stress causes joint pain.
- Altered Movement: Panic or anxiety attacks can change the way you sit, move, and act. Overtime, it can lead to functional disabilities in certain areas of your body. It may become difficult for you to exercise. You may be spending more time resting, which in turn aggravates your anxiety and even causes other complications, including joint pain.
- Stress Inflammation: When you have inflammation in the body, you are likely to experience joint pain along with many other issues. Stress can produce an inflammatory response in your body that can cause your joints to swell and become less mobile. The stiffness can make it difficult to move and do your day-to-day tasks.
- Immune System Dysfunction: Stress and joint pain are linked because stress has a direct effect on your immune system, and a weakened immune system can make you feel joint pressure and distress.
- Muscular Tension: You develop muscular tension when you are under stress for a long time. This makes your muscles become stiff and compels your joints to work harder. Pushing your joints too hard can cause inflammation and further discomfort.
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How Stress Can Trigger Joint Inflammation
When your body is under stress, your brain increases the production of hormones called glucocorticoidsincluding cortisolwhich are often referred to as the stress hormone. Although this hormone can be essential during life-threatening circumstances, when this response is triggered continuously, prolonged exposure can result in a multitude of health complicationsincluding exacerbating arthritic symptoms.
When your body is under stress, your musculoskeletal system reacts by stiffening your muscles, preparing to deal with the stressful situation at hand. This tenseness can increase arthritic pain. Cortisol also triggers your immune systems inflammatory response, which can cause further damage to various kinds of arthritis, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Exercise To Reduce Oa Pain
Exercise is a great stress reducer. It releases chemicals in your brain that help you feel good and releases built-up tension. Exercise is also a great way to help reduce arthritis pain. “When you donât exercise, it can actually increase pain and stiffness and lead to less mobility,” says Kolasinski. “Starting an exercise program isnât always easy, but itâs definitely worth the effort.”
One of the easiest ways to get started is to find an activity that you enjoy.
“Itâs really important to find something that works for you,” says Alveta Haynes of Boston. Despite having arthritis for many years and a total knee replacement in 2007, Haynes has always been active. “Iâve found the best way to feel good and keep my stress level low is to keep moving,” she says. Haynes plays tennis regularly and loves to walk in the park near her home, but finds other activities to enjoy in the winter, when walking outdoors isnât an option. “Donât be afraid to try something new when you canât do your regular exercise,” she says. “There are lots of options out there — just be sure you do something.”
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Stress Always Seems To Creep Up On Us At The Most Inopportune Times And Never Seems To Be Limited To Just One Event As The Old Adage Goes When It Rains It Pours
Imagine for a moment that you’re late to pick up your kids as a dump truck has pulled out in front of you. You have a project due by end of the week and to top it all off, you get a call from your partner that you have a leak at home. Like a thermometer in hot weather, your stress meter starts to climb and you can feel your arthritis starting to flare….and you start to wonder about the connection between stress and inflammation. In this article, we take a deep dive into the link between the two.
How Does The Body Respond To Stress
When faced with danger, a chemical reaction occurs in your body which allows you to act quickly. This reaction, also known as the fight-or-flight or stress response, is your bodys way of keeping you safe from harm. Unfortunatelythe body cant always discern between a legitimate threat and the pressure of daily life.
Any stressful situationfrom narrowly avoiding a head-on collision to being stuck in a traffic jamcan trigger this response causing the heart rate to increase, blood pressure to rise, and muscles to tighten.
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What You Can Do About Chronic Pain
With that said, however, its also important that you recognize that you are not helpless to it.
Chronic pain rehabilitation programs are a traditional form of chronic pain management that focuses on reducing the stress response in the presence of pain. Through multiple therapeutic modalities, they focus on reducing the reactivity of the nervous system and teaching you how to maintain this reduced reactivity of the nervous system, which, in turn, leads to less inflammation and less pain, greater energy and motivation, and greater abilities to independently do what you want to do. The Institute for Chronic Pain has a number of resources that provide information on chronic pain rehabilitation.
A brief list follows:
Make Relaxation A Part Of Your Life
Relaxation doesnt have to mean a long indulgent massage or vacation to a faraway place. You can find relaxation each and every day with a quiet guided meditation using an app on your phone, sitting on a park bench and watching the flowers, or by sitting quietly in a warm bath.
Oftentimes when youre stressed, youre so wired that you think you dont have time for these moments. But its exactly when you dont think you have time for them that theyre most important to your mental and physical health.
A little relaxation can put you back in perspective and take you out of the whirlwind that stress can cause.
Relaxation can help you notice where youre holding the stress: in a clenched jaw, shrugged shoulders, or tight back. By focusing on these areas, you can help them soften and slow the cycle of stress from affecting you physically.
At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, were always available to help you find solutions to arthritis and other joint pain. our location in Bethesda or Germantown, Maryland or use this website to set up a consultation.
Learning tools and getting treatment to manage your arthritis pain can help reduce your stress levels, too.
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Stress And Joint Pain
It is natural to develop joint pain as you get older. Your joint pain could also be the result of some injuries from exercise or sports. However, many people find it quite surprising that your mental health can also affect the health of your joints. In fact, there is a direct connection between stress and joint pain. Stress can affect your body in many ways you might not know, and the joint pain caused by stress can actually have significant effect on your day-to-day life.
How To Protect Your Joints From Stress
Bottom line? Stress causes us to waste our calcium and magnesium like crazy! So what can you do to stop stress from aggravating your joint pain? Ensuring that you have a balanced diet that contains plenty of calcium and finding easy ways to effectively cope with stress will help to prevent stress from causing your joint pain to flare up. According to research, mindfulness can help lower cortisol levels in response to a stressor, as well as lowering indices of anxiety and feelings of negativity.3
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The Connection Between Arthritis And Anxiety
My doctor didnt believe my anxiety was related to my illness. She actually told me to wait until after recovering from my surgeries and then wed deal with the anxiety, says Rachel F., 36, of Arvada, Colorado, who just had a hip replacement and is scheduled for one in her other hip after she completes her recovery. However, taking care of three children and managing her life with limited mobility, experiencing excruciating chronic pain, and enduring a lengthy physical rehab was incredibly anxiety-inducing. I worried about everything from my kids to my health and it made me really unmotivated to keep trying, she explains. Still my doctor told me my mental health wasnt connected and that once Id recovered physically, the anxiety would go away on its own.
Sadly, this isnt an uncommon reaction as many people, including doctors, dont understand the intrinsic connection between mental health disorders and chronic illness, says Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD, a therapist who specializes in treating people with chronic conditions.
Almost one quarter of adults with any type of arthritis report having anxiety, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, fewer than half of people with anxiety were receiving medical treatment and only one-third had spoken with a mental health professional about it, the CDC reported. Nearly 20 percent of young people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis reported clinical levels of anxiety, according to a study in the journal BMJ.
How Can Flexcin Help
In addition to the remedies listed above, you may want to consider pairing these activities with a joint pain supplement. Flexcin offers an all-natural line of products that may help in overcoming joint pain related to anxiety.*The Flexcin Starter Pack is the best option for those new to a joint supplement. It includes one bottle of our Load-Up Formula, which utilizes a higher concentration of the discomfort-relieving ingredients to load up your system, and two bottles of our regular strength Joint Maintenance Formula.
The Joint Maintenance Formula can also be purchased separately as a one-month supply. With ingredients like CM8 and traditional powerful ingredients like glucosamine, its the perfect supplement to help increase mobility, decrease inflammation, and prevent further joint degeneration.*Flexcin also offers Motion Lotion, a topical cream that can be safely used to provide fast relief for symptoms of joint aches and inflammation.
Every 90-day supply of Flexcin product comes with a 100% Money Back Guarantee. If youre not satisfied with the results you experience, simply return your first order for a full refund of the purchase price, less shipping and handling.
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What Is Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is caused due to an imbalancebetween antioxidants and free radicals in the body. Free radicals areoxygen-containing molecules that have one or more unpaired electrons. Due to this uneven number ofelectrons, they easily bind with other molecules.
As free radicals readily react with othermolecules, many chemical reactions take place in the body. These reactions arereferred to as oxidation, and they can either benefit or harm your body.
The bodys cells produce free radicals andantioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that can neutralise free radicals bydonating an electron. As a result, the free radical becomes less reactive andstabilised.
Factors contributing to oxidative stress include:
Environmental factors such as pollution andradiation
The natural immune response can causeoxidative stress temporarily, further leading to mild inflammation. It goesaway when the immunity strength of the body against the infection is increased.
Oxidative stress, if uncontrolled, can speedthe process of ageing and lead to several other conditions.
Chronic Stress And Long
Aches and pains are common symptoms of stress, however, ongoing pain or stiffness may be a sign of a more serious problem.
A 2018 study published by PubMed revealed Stress-related disorders were significantly associated with risk of subsequent autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to produce antibodies which attack and damage the bodys healthy tissue instead of fighting infection. In certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, the antibodies attach to connective tissue within the joints leading to pain, stiffness, swelling, andwithout treatmentpotentially permanent joint damage.
Autoimmune diseases are often incurable however, early intervention and treatment can help prevent further damage and joint deterioration.
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Exercise Reduces Chronic Stress And Inflammation
Exercise reduce chronic stress and inflammation by changing your brain. In their investigation about what can be done to reverse or even prevent the effects of chronic stress, researchers from the Hokkaido University School of Medicine showed that exercise, particularly if done in the morning exercise in the morning, alleviates chronic stress.
Part of why the long-term relief chronic stress is due to the unique way exercise helps build up a resistance to stress. Through regular cardio, you actually change your brain, so it takes more and more stress to trigger the fight-or-flight response, says John Ratey, MD, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Cardiovascular activity helps the heart pump more blood to the brain, which results in more oxygen and better-nourished brain cells. Scientists discovered that a vigorous workout causes brain cells to become more active and boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor . I call it Miracle-Gro for the brain, Dr. Ratey says. The proteins role, among other things, is to fortify brain cells to prevent them from breaking down when exposed to chronic stress.
Exercise can make you younger
A study inPreventive Medicine published in 2017 showed that people who exercise the most were nine years biologically younger than those who were sedentary.