Thursday, February 2, 2023

Can Stress Cause Joint Pain

Carrying Heavy Backpacks Or Bags

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Carrying a heavy load on your back, whether it is a backpack, purse, or messenger bag, can place a lot of stress and strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. When you carry a heavy load, it affects your balance and even the way you walk. This is especially true if you like to carry your backpack or bag on only one side. The result is that it stresses muscles and joints on that side of the body and overworks them so they experience more wear and tear. You may experience muscle pain, joint pain, and other symptoms. Lighten your load! Avoid lugging around unnecessary objects. Carry just what you need. Use a backpack over both shoulders to distribute the weight you carry more evenly. If you do carry a purse or messenger bag with one strap, switch sides to avoid placing undue stress on just one side of your body.

Being A Stomach Sleeper

You may snore less when you sleep on your stomach instead of on your back, but the rest of your body may suffer. People who sleep on their stomachs have to twist their heads and necks to the side. This, in turn, places stress on nerves. It also compresses your spine, leading to awkward spinal alignment. You want to sleep in a neutral position so that your head and neck are in a straight line with your spine to reduce the risk of strain on your back, neck, and muscles. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Switch to sleeping on your side or back. Look for special pillows for side sleepers and back sleepers that promote healthy spine alignment.

Chest Pains And Other Panic Symptoms

Not all aches and pains are in your muscles either. Some anxiety disorders can cause other symptoms, like chest pains, a painful tingling in the hands and feet, and more. These are often the result of hyperventilation, which occurs during panic attacks and severe anxiety.


Headaches are tricky. Most anxiety headaches are actually just a form of tension, known as a “tension headache.” Your muscles tense up, and your head experiences pain as a result. But anxiety is also known to cause migraines, and migraines can lead to immense discomfort around your head, as well as symptoms that may create more anxiety.


Another thing to keep in mind with anxiety is that not all aches and pains are caused by anxiety. Every day you experience very small discomforts all over your body for many reasons. Someone who is anxiety-free may be able to ignore them and find that they quickly go away.

But those with anxiety tend to suffer from what’s known as “hypersensitivity.” Hypersensitivity is when you become too attuned to the way your body feels, to the point where you notice nearly every physical sensation in your body. When you pay that much attention to those sensations, your mind has a tendency to amplify them, and that makes them more likely to cause more pain than they would have naturally done.

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Get Comfortable With Boundaries

Setting boundaries can be tricky for many people as it can require some confrontation or at least telling others something you think they wont like. But learning to set appropriate boundaries and being firm on maintaining them is the key to managing and preventing stress, Meghan says. This may mean having a set bedtime and asking guests to leave early. Or perhaps it means saying no to a party or other fun invite when youre feeling overwhelmed. Figure out what your limits are and dont apologize for sticking to them, she says.

Joint Pain Stiffness Common Symptom Descriptions

Can Joint Pain Be Caused by Stress?
  • One or many of your bodys joints are sore and stiff.
  • There could be swelling in the sore and stiff joint, or not and it looks normal.
  • One or many joints feel unusually painful and might feel stiff to move.
  • One or many joints are swollen, painful, and stiff.
  • While you might not notice joint pain during normal activities, it can become a problem with the joint is banged or stubbed.

This symptom can affect one joint only, shift and affect another joint or joints, or affect many or all of them.

This symptom can occur occasionally, frequently, or persistently.

It can precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms or occur by itself.

This symptom can precede, accompany, or follow a period of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and stress, or occur “out of the blue” and for no apparent reason.

It can also range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. The joint can also be sore one day and seemingly fine the next. Sore and stiff joints can also become a constant problem during your struggle with anxiety disorder.

All combinations and variations of the above are common.

Sore and stiff joints can seem more noticeable when undistracted, resting, trying to sleep, or when waking up.

To see if anxiety might be playing a role in your symptoms, rate your level of anxiety using our free one-minute instant results Anxiety Test, Anxiety Disorder Test, or Hyperstimulation Test.

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Relying On The Wrong Muscles

You have both large and small muscles in your body. When you rely on small muscles to make movements, it places unnecessary stress and strain on joints. Perform physical activities in a way that minimizes stress on joints. Bend at your knees when you lift something heavy off the floor so your thigh muscles, not back muscles, do most of the work. Use your shoulder muscles instead of your finger muscles to open a heavy door. When carrying something, hold it close to your body using the palms of your hands, not your fingers.

Get An Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture, a therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years, uses very fine needles at specific points in your body to open blockages and restore the flow of energy throughout your body. Acupuncture stimulates the brain to release serotonin and endorphins, which help reduce pain and anxiety, and promote a sense of well-being.

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What Happens In The Body When Youre Stressed

When youre stressed emotionally or psychologically your body goes into whats colloquially called the fight-or-flight response, as it readies for, well, fighting or fleeing. One effect is the release of the stress hormone cortisol, says Dr. Gupta. Cortisol works to suppress nonessential-in-an-emergency functions, like your immune response and digestion. The hormone also fuels the production of glucose, or blood sugar, boosting energy to the large muscles, while inhibiting insulin production and narrowing arteries, which forces the blood to pump harder to aid our stressor response.

Another hormone, adrenaline, is also released, which tells the body to increase heart and respiratory rate, and to expand airways to push more oxygen into muscles. Your body also makes glycogen, or stored glucose , available to power muscles. In addition, stress decreases lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, putting you at risk of viruses like the common cold.

When the fight or flight response is invoked, your body directs resources away from functions that arent crucial in life-threatening situations, Gupta says.

Its this maladaptive response to stress, says Gupta, that over time perpetuates itself and becomes implicated in chronic health problems.

Stress & Anxiety Can Lead To Tmj Disorder

What’s Causing My Mysterious Joint And Muscle Pain?

Stress and anxiety are your bodys natural way of reacting to difficult situations, and when persistent, can be detrimental to your health. Common symptoms of stress can be an inability to sleep, headaches, teeth grinding, and muscle pain.

Because of the common link between stress and teeth grinding, it is easy to develop TMJ disorder as a result. Dr. Meyer explains that temporomandibular joint disorder can develop over time. This is as a result of restless, stress-induced sleep where you are grinding your teeth and jaw clenching unconsciously. Constant wear and tear can misalign your jaw and cause chronic neck and muscle strain as well. When youre in constant pain and lacking quality sleep, your body remains in a heightened state of stress. creating a vicious cycle.

TMJ disorder can be physically and emotionally hard on you and the people around you. However, TMJ treatment is possible and your suffering does not need to continue.

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Is Your Joint Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis

Joint pain in women in perimenopause or menopause is frequently diagnosed as osteoarthritis. Conventional practitioners tend to offer two treatment paths: prescribing increasingly stronger drugs for pain, or waiting until the problem gets bad enough that surgery is required. For most of us, neither approach is acceptable.

While many women first notice this issue during midlife when reproductive hormones fluctuate naturally, joint pain is not an inevitable sign of aging. In fact, unless your joint is seriously deteriorated, or cartilage, tendons or ligaments are damaged or missing, you have an excellent opportunity to find joint pain relief if you address its most common source: inflammation. But it is important to take action sooner rather than later.

Implement A Bedtime Routine

Chronic pain and sleeplessness can turn into a vicious cycle fast and nothing is more stressful than insomnia. To make sure she gets enough sleep Meghan has developed a bedtime routine that helps her make sure her body is prepped to fall asleep and stay asleep. What routine works best for you will vary but it may include things like a warm bath, a heating pad, a special pillow set-up, a half-hour of quiet reading, meditation, or whatever else makes you feel calm.

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The Impact Of Stress On Arthritis

You experience a very real physical response to stress that can worsen arthritis. For people with an inflammatory form of the disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, stress compounds your discomfort.

When youre under stress, your body releases chemicals that are designed to help you face the challenge of an emergency. They give you the drive to get away or fight.

But today’s stress is less likely to come in the form of something from which you need to flee such as a tiger and is more likely insidious stress from financial woes, family changes, relationship issues, or work deadlines.

Your body still releases chemicals in response to this modern stress, but repeatedly and steadily.

The constant stress triggers and physical reactions cause an inflammatory response in your immune system, heightening the inflammation that causes pain and joint degradation with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or lupus.

The more stress youre under, the more destructive your inflammation and arthritis can become.

Even people with the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, find that stress compounds their discomfort. Stress can cause you to tense up muscles, which only increases your joint pain.

Can Stress Cause Increased Sensitivity To Pain

Can Joint Pain Be Caused by Stress?

Stress is your bodys natural response when under intense mental or physical pressure. Stress isnt all bad, it does have its benefits. It can compel you to meet professional deadlines and reach important personal goals. But, high levels of stress can have a devastating impact on your psychological and physical health and wellbeing.

We also explain how feeling stressed out can cause increased sensitivity to pain and, in some cases, damage your overall health. We also provide stress management tips to help you combat stress and experience stress relief.

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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.

What The Doctor Does

Doctors first ask questions about the person’s symptoms and medical history. Then they do a physical examination. What doctors find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause for joint pain and guides the tests that may need to be done .

Doctors ask about pain severity, onset , how symptoms vary over time, and what increases or decreases pain . They ask about joint stiffness and swelling, previously diagnosed joint disorders, and risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and Lyme disease.

Doctors then do a complete physical examination. They check all joints for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, and noises that are made when the joints are moved . The joints are moved through their full range of motion, first by the person without assistance and then by the doctor . This examination helps determine which structure is causing the pain and if inflammation is present. They also check the eyes, mouth, nose, and genital area for sores or other signs of inflammation. The skin is examined for rashes. Lymph nodes are felt and the lungs and heart examined. Doctors usually test function of the nervous system so that they can detect disorders of the muscles or nerves.

The following tests are the most important overall:

  • Tests of joint fluid

  • Blood tests for autoantibodies

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein

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How To Reduce Stress

We cant exactly remove stress from our lives, but there are ways to ease symptoms.

  • Identify triggers: Write in a journal and look for patterns. Once youve identified them, try to find ways around them.
  • Eat well: Not only is a healthy diet essential in maintaining a healthy weight, certain foods can also help decrease pain and inflammation.
  • Ask for help: Youre not alone. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help.
  • Stay active: Exercise plays an important role in both mental and physical health. Incorporate walking, yoga, or other activities into your daily routine. **Depending on medical conditions and fitness levels, there may be activities you should avoid. Talk to your doctor to determine a routine thats right for your body.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine can intensify anxiety and joint pain. Stick to water when you can.
  • Stay positive: Try to look at the bright side of things. Its not always easy, but your body will thank you.

Joint Preservation CenterAre you suffering from persistent joint pain or stiffness? Call 410-337-7900 to schedule an evaluation or .

12/23/21 Open until 4:30 pm12/24/21 CLOSED

Inflammation Of The Joint Lining

What Can Cause Joint Pain and How is It Treated?

If you have injured the joint recently and it suddenly becomes painful again, the thin layer of tissue lining the joints and tendons may be inflamed, a condition called traumatic synovitis.

It usually does not cause any redness or heat.

You should be able to manage injury-related swelling at home with anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, an icepack and rest.

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Nix The Bedtime Ice Cream Scoop

Comfort food can be comforting but not if it increases your inflammation and stress. For me, the key to keeping my stress and my illnesses in check is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet mainly by avoiding dairy, sugar, and gluten, Amanda says. This doesnt mean you have to give up all your favorite foods but consider making healthy swaps, like having a mug of herbal tea before bed instead of hot chocolate.

Heart Attack Or Heart Disease

Chest pain is far from the only potential symptom of a heart attack. In some cases, the cardiovascular event triggers shoulder pain as a result of the brain getting too little oxygen. In addition, when you have an autoimmune disease that affects your joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis, related inflammation may raise your risk for heart disease. So its possible that your symptoms involve joint problems as well as heart-related issues.

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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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