Arthritis is often considered to be a strictly physical condition, but it can have profound effects on one’s emotional well-being as well. Not only can pain negatively affect one’s mood, but one’s state of mind can exacerbate pain symptoms as well.
It is important to recognize the emotional signs of distress in order to manage those emotions and prevent the onset or worsening of pain. This article will explore the connection between chronic arthritis pain and emotion and how stress, as well as how stress and body pain can take their toll on arthritis sufferers. It is also interesting to look at the effects of the changing seasons on one’s overall mood and levels of pain.
Can Stress Cause Joint Pain?
Stress is a common part of life, but prolonged stress over time can cause rheumatoid arthritis pain to become worse. People with osteoarthritis may also feel their joint pain more prominently when they are experiencing high periods of stress. This is because stress is believed to increase bodily inflammation, which is a known cause of pain. In rheumatoid arthritis patients, for example, more cytokines are released during stressful times, which causes greater inflammation and pain.
Stress and Body Pain
Individuals who are experiencing pain often feel that they have no control over it. Arthritis pain can be associated with fear and distress that it will continue, worsen, and perhaps even spiral out of control. There are pain signals in the brain that receive messages through many different pathways. People interpret pain in different ways, and individuals’ unique brains learn to deal with pain based on lifestyle habits and personality.
Anxiety Body Aches and Anxiety Joint Pain
In addition to the increased inflammation from stress, people experience anxiety body aches due to muscle tension, which leads to stiffness. This stiffness makes the joints work harder, and this leads to additional discomfort.
Also, many people change their physical movements when experiencing anxiety, such as the way they sit and rest their legs. These altered movements can create anxiety joint paint that lasts throughout the day.
Anxiety and depression play a role in immune system functioning, and a weakened immune system is less capable of enduring chronic arthritis pain. Anxiety joint pain can be very complex and difficult to treat in patients with ongoing physical and emotional issues.
Finding Physical and Emotional Relief
Since negative emotions have the power to trigger chronic arthritis pain, individuals with arthritis are advised to make the most of the warm and sunny summer months. With more opportunities for relaxation, outdoor recreation, and enjoying the nice weather, this is a beneficial time of year for arthritis sufferers.
As individuals become more active in the summer, topical arthritis creams, like JointFlex, can help reduce pain and promote comfortable movements. Arthritis sufferers should speak with their doctors to discuss how much exercise is recommended on a daily basis to keep pain at bay and prevent it from coming back or worsening.
Emotional interventions, such as behavioral therapy, can help individuals manage their stress, and therefore manage pain by default. Other non-drug treatments, including mindfulness practices like tai chi and yoga, have proven to be very effective in helping patients change their perception of chronic pain and cope with the symptoms they feel on a regular basis.
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