How To Manage Stress
The ability to manage your stress plays an important role when living with arthritis. According to the University of Washington, breaking the cycle involves learning to accept what you can and cannot change and finding ways to reduce stress.3
While theres no cure for arthritis, there are simple ways to help break the vicious cycle of pain and stress.
Find A Workout You Love
Have you heard the phrase motion is lotion for your joints? Exercise is one of the best things someone with arthritis can do for their body and their mind. We get how hard it can be to walk across the parking lot to the gym when youre in pain, much less sweat through an hour-long class. When I workout regularly I just feel better physically and Im less stressed, Amanda says. The trick is to find an exercise you actually love and can get excited about, not one that stresses you out more. For Amanda, she loves BodyPump classes as they incorporate weight lifting and some light cardio without feeling too intimidating, she says. For others, structured classes at the gym might be too much. Or just
Inflammation And Stress: Theyre Closely Connected
Research shows that stress may play a role in the cascading process that leads to inflammation and causes RA pain. Inflammation in RA is partly caused by molecules called cytokines. While cytokines can be released for a variety of reasons, stress also releases them. If youre stressed and are producing more cytokines, you will most likely develop more inflammation, which may result in more pain.
Whether we consider rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus, or any other rheumatic disease, the presence of emotional stress may well exacerbate the condition, says Richard Roseff, MD, a rheumatologist at Danbury Hospital and a private practitioner in Danbury and Ridgefield, Connecticut.
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Yoga Improves The Bodys Response To Diseases
Since yoga helps to reduce stress, it can reduce the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone closely associated with states of mental and emotional stress.
When we release stress, the secretion of cortisol is suppressed. Nowadays, its known that maintaining high levels of cortisol in the body can lead to alterations in the immune system. Its believed that cortisol may weaken the immune system giving way to the entry of pathogens.
When cortisol is controlled, the body is better suited to fight arthritis. Its not known to what extent this can delay the condition, however, its another thing patients can do.
Mental Health And Rheumatoid Arthritis: Toward Understanding The Emotional Status Of People With Chronic Disease
1Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland
2Department and Clinic of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
3Department of Stomatological Surgery and Periodontology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
4Department of Clinical Psychology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Chronic illness is indicated by the World Health Organization as the leading cause of premature death in the world. According to WHOs estimates, it is responsible for 63% of all fatalities . Chronic illness is defined by its slow progression and long duration, two traits which force patients to adapt to new, changed circumstances, and which affect most aspects of life, usually negatively, consequently significantly lowering health-related quality of life .
A basic problem that RA patients must cope with is pain. As the disorder advances, pain levels usually increase . The unpredictability of pain is one trait disrupting well-being patients cannot predict the end of an ongoing episode of pain nor the onset of another one. This negatively impacts the sufferers emotional state and greatly increases their negative affect.
2.1. Study Participants
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How To Regain Control Of Stress & Ra
Stress is an everyday occurrence that cannot be avoided completely. The hectic nature of juggling your health, family, career, and lifestyle will probably result in some stressful moments on a daily basis. The best you can do is reduce the frequency.
A healthier lifestyle should be the top item on the agenda. A little light daily exercise combined with good eating habits, hydration, and regular breaks throughout the day will serve you well. Speaking to a therapist about cognitive-behavioral therapy may help you accept RA and reduce its control over your life.
Perhaps the most significant step, though, is to follow the treatments and medications prescribed by medical experts. This can reduce the frequency and strength of flare-ups while additionally supporting better symptom management.
For further support on understanding your symptoms and how to reduce their impact on your life, call Rheumatology Care of North Houston at to arrange a consultation.
Stress Linked To Inflammatory Arthritis Among At
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Perceived stress is significantly associated with developing inflammatory arthritis among those who are at risk, according to findings published in Arthritis Care & Research.
Stress is a part of everyday life, but how we perceive and cope with stressors can have potential impacts on our health,Kristen J. Polinski, MSPH, of the Colorado School of Public Health, told Healio Rheumatology. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, we understand that psychological stress can have negative effects on disease activity, but this relationship is not well established in preclinical populations. Our study adds to the emerging evidence suggesting that perceived distress may affect the future development of rheumatoid arthritis.
To analyze the association between perceived stress and incident inflammatory arthritis, Polinski and colleagues conducted a prospective, longitudinal study of data from the ongoing Studies of the Etiologies of Rheumatoid Arthritis , a multisite cohort of 2,037 participants established in 2002. The cohort includes participants without inflammatory arthritis at baseline who were at risk for developing future rheumatoid arthritis, defined as first-degree relatives of RA probands or someone who screened positive for anticyclic citrullinated peptide autoantibody.
Disclosure: The researchers report grant funding from the NIH.
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Make Exercise A Priority
When your joints ache, you might not feel like going for a brisk walk or swimming laps. Try your best to do something.
Being active is especially good for people with RA. It eases pain, improves mood, lowers stress, and helps keep joints mobile.
Go for cardio . Pick activities that are easy on your joints, like swimming and walking.
Also do strength training. You can use light weights, machines at the gym, resistance bands, or your own body weight .
If youâre not active already, ask your doctor whatâs OK for you to do. And pace yourself. You may need to take it easier when you have a flare.
If your symptoms get in the way of exercise, work with a physical therapist who specializes in treating people with RA. You’ll learn ways to build strength, feel better, and zap stress.
Enjoying The Simple Pleasures:
Relieving stress doesnt have to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. Its ok to let yourself enjoy the things that bring you joy and peace. Watch a funny movie, enjoy the colour by numbers books, stroll through the park, bake, soak in a bubble bath.
Take some time away from your daily stresses and just enjoy the moment.
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How Stress Impacts Oa
There are a few reasons emotional stress can lead to worse OA symptoms. When stress isnt dealt with and builds up in a person whether they have arthritis or not it has a negative impact on the body. Sore, aching or tense muscles and joints can occur in a healthy person who is stressed, and in someone with OA these physical symptoms of stress compound the OA symptoms already being experienced. Since OA causes stress in many people, its common for a cycle to develop: your OA symptoms cause stress, which causes your OA symptoms to worsen, which causes more stress, etc.
Stress can also make it difficult to get to sleep and to stay asleep. A poor nights sleep can make you feel irritable and tired the next day, and as a result, be more sensitive to pain. Additionally, lack of sleep often leads to overeating or unhealthy eating, which leads to weight gain, which puts more physical stress on your joints, making your pain worse.
There is a strong link between mental health, pain and disability associated with OA, indicates a 2010 study featured in Clinical Rheumatology. According to this research paper, as many as 40.7% of the participants showed signs of clinically significant anxiety and depression. Another study found that OA sufferers who are depressed had much worse pain and other symptoms that would be expected based on x-rays of the knee.
Schedule A Nap In Your Calendar
As someone who has lived with chronic illnesses for years, I have learned the hard way that when it comes to coping with stress, there is no substitute for rest, says Monica C., of Phoenix, Arizona. The trick is to actually schedule your rest time, just like you would any other appointment. This way you will be less tempted to push through or forget about it.
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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.
Easing Stress Easing Arthritis Symptoms
Whether itâs a problem at work, relationship troubles, or just dealing with traffic, we all experience stress in our lives. But ongoing stress can take a toll on your health. It can also make any health condition that you have feel worse, including arthritis.
When your body is under stress, it releases chemicals that can trigger inflammation and pain. So you might be more likely to have arthritis flare-ups when youâre feeling stress.
Whatâs more, stress can increase your perception of pain. “Stress can leave you feeling less able to handle your pain and more easily overwhelmed by it,” says Sharon Kolasinski, MD, a rheumatologist and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
And, having a chronic illness, such as arthritis, can add to your stress level. “Chronic pain is a stressor in itself,” says Kolasinski. “But it can be even more stressful when the pain limits your mobility or activities.”
Although you might not be able to avoid stress completely, you donât have to let it rule your life. There are many ways to help manage stress. The key is finding the ones that work best for you. This article offers seven stress management suggestions and ideas on how to get started.
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Stress Is A Powerful Thingit May Even Worsen Your Arthritis Pain Heres What To Do To Help You Cope
Theres no denying it: stress is a part of your daily lifewhether its sitting in standstill traffic, picking the wrong line at the grocery store, or an impending deadline at work. And if you are living with arthritis, being in pain combined with the struggle to carry out everyday tasks might increase your stress to a whole other level.
Is it all in your head, or is there a real connection between stress and arthritis? Read on to learn more about arthritis pain caused by stress.
How Stress And Arthritis Affect Each Other
Stress affects your illness in two major ways, according to a meta-analysis of 10 studies on the relationship between stress and arthritis, published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy. Stressful events work on a physical level, increasing levels of the hormone cortisol in your body. This then triggers the immune system hyperactivity that is the hallmark of inflammatory types of arthritis while also reducing your immune systems ability to fight off harmful germs. Stress also affects you on a mental level, making you less resilient and able to deal with the symptoms of your disease. When our patients say that stress worsens their disease, they may be correct, the researchers concluded.
Fortunately, you can manage this vicious cycle of stress and its impact on managing arthritis. Here are some tips from Dr. Larsen and from fellow arthritis patients on how they cope with stress to minimize its impact on their arthritis.
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Common Medications To Treat Arthritis Flares
OA patients might just need some OTC pain-relieving medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Dr. Bose also recommends topical gels and lotions like diclofenac gel or 2 Old Goats. If that doesnt work, Dr. Ashany says joint injections of steroids may be given. RA flares are more complicated. In inflammatory arthritis, steroids are often used to try to quickly bring a flare under control, Dr. Ashany says. If only one joint is involved a steroid can be given by injection, but otherwise it can be taken orally .
In inflammatory arthritis, if flares continue to occur, this indicates that the patients regimen of maintenance medication is not adequate, Dr. Ashany says. This may lead to addition of a medication, switching one drug for another or increasing the dose of medication that the patient is currently taking.
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
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How Can Stress Affect My Arthritis
Arthritis and stress tend to correspond you are stressed because of your arthritis, and the stress can make your arthritis worse. Here is a guide to helping you understand how stress affects your arthritis:
Chemical effects of stressPeople already dealing with arthritis may feel the effects of stress more acutely. Some people are just more sensitive. Researchers still do not know why people in the same situation will experience different levels of stress, but they do suspect a combination of genetics and environmental triggers. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing chemicals, such as cortisol. While these chemicals are meant to relieve stress, they may also trigger arthritic inflammation. Repeated exposure to stress can impact the chemical messengers in the brain, according to ArthritisToday. Arthritis may alter the bodys chemical responses and make your health more susceptible to stress.
Track your stress One of the first ways to handle stress is to know your triggers. Keep a daily journal and use it to record stressful moments and times when your arthritis feels worse. You may begin to notice a pattern over time. A correlation would suggest that stress affects your arthritis directly possibly on a daily basis. Once you know that stress is triggering pain, you can more effectively avoid stressful situations.
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Autoimmune Disease And Stress: Is There A Link
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
A new study has raised the possibility that stress may cause autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, because it found a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases among people who were previously diagnosed with stress-related disorders.
I have patients who heard about this research and are saying, I knew it!
But before we accept a potential link between stress and autoimmune disease, lets look at some details of the study and consider how we define the terms autoimmune disease,stress, and stress-related disorder.
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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.