What Happens To Your Body When Its Under Stress
Your body undergoes significant physical changes when youre under stress. Your muscles tense. Your body releases chemicals that cause your heartbeat to increase. Your blood pressure is higher, and your breathing rate is more rapid. Your body isnt meant to sustain these changes over a prolonged period of time. If you dont take steps to relieve the stress, it has negative impacts on your body that make your arthritis symptoms worse.
What Can I Do For My Lower Back Pain
The first step in getting relief from your back pain is to identify its cause. For instance, the treatment for trauma-induced back pain may be something for which you need professional help, while tension-induced pain may be able to be treated at home.
In general, over-the-counter medications, ice, and heat can provide significant relief from run-of-the-mill lower back pain. At the onset of your back pain, apply a cold compress for about 15 minutes, 3 4 times a day. After the first few days, use a heating pad instead. Warm showers or baths may also help loosen your muscles and relieve your pain. In some cases, massage therapy may help alleviate your symptoms. However, make sure that you seek treatment from a qualified, certified, and experienced professional, as improper techniques may result in a worsening of your pain.
For back pain that is caused by more serious conditions, including disk problems or osteoarthritis, professional intervention may be needed. In some cases, surgery may be recommended, but there are many instances when less invasive techniques can be equally or even more beneficial. Dr. Williams is proud to offer the breakthrough Regenexx family of procedures to his patients suffering from chronic pain and other problems. During your initial consultation, Dr. Williams will thoroughly evaluate your case, begin the process of diagnosing your condition, and explain how Regenexx treatment may benefit you.
Ways To Prevent Future Arthritis Flare
Luckily, you may be able to cut down on the number of arthritis flare-ups you are experiencing by doing a few simple things.
Know Your Triggers
The things that trigger your arthritis flare-ups might not cause a problem for someone else. Every persons body responds differently. Try to document the circumstances around every flare-up and see if you notice any patterns so that you can better prepare for future issues. Once you know your triggers, you can try to avoid or at least limit your exposure to them.
You need to give yourself a break and not try to do it all alone. Try to find someone who can help with some or all of the activities that may aggravate your arthritis. It can be hard to admit when you are having a hard time, but you are only increasing the likelihood of an arthritis flare by pushing yourself too hard.
Protect Yourself From Infection
For inflammatory types of arthritis that are triggered by an immune response, an illness or infection can really set your arthritis symptoms off. Take extra precautions to avoid illnesses like the flu and go see the doctor if you believe you could have any kind of infection.
Get Enough Rest
Our bodies need rest. You need to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep to prevent your body from becoming run down. Getting quality rest with arthritis pain can sometimes be difficult, so dont hesitate to add in a nap during the day if you need to. Try to learn the limits of your body and not overdo them.
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Adopt A Habit That Promotes A Healthy Weight
Dennis L.s chronic illnesses lead to serious fatigue, which in turn made him gain more than 60 pounds. The extra weight made his illnesses worse, putting serious stress on his body and his emotions, the British Columbia native says. The weight itself caused me to feel stressed out and made it harder to deal with other stressors, he explains. So he decided to lose weight slowly and under the guidance of his doctors by walking and riding his bike, along with watching his diet. Today hes lost the weight, gained confidence in himself, and feels less stressed out in general, he says. Today I am an endurance biker and runner and am fitter than I have ever been, he says.
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Carrying Heavy Backpacks Or Bags
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.
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.
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Psychological Stress Can Cause Back Pain
Though it might seem hard to believe, mental or emotional distress may be the reason you are experiencing back pain. In fact, there is a long list of physical symptoms that have been proven to be associated with stress and anxiety, including:
- Low libido
Stress itself is the bodys reaction to certain usually unpleasant situations or thoughts. You may not realize it, but when you are feeling stressed or anxious, there are chemical and physical reactions taking place in your body to try and protect you from harm. Cortisol and adrenaline are released, and there is typically an involuntary tightening of your muscles. This often occurs in the neck, shoulders, and down the spine. Prolonged tension in these areas can lead to back pain and, more specifically, lower back pain. You may have had a massage therapist tell you that you hold a lot of tension in your shoulders, and this phenomenon is what they are referencing.
What Is Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as a physical pain that prolongs quite longer, usually over 3 months.
However, there is a considerable portion of the people who experience chronic pain just because of the feelings associated with stress, anxiety or depression.
Chronic pain is dangerous as it can hinder ones complete ability in moving with ease and also affecting their normal functioning.
Usually, the best remedy often perceived by people is having pain medications, but their side-effects further compound the overall problem.
Most people are aware of an essential fact that emotional stress can cause some severe problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and stomachaches. However, they might not know very well that it can even cause some other kinds of complaints that are physical along with chronic pain.
One logical reason, as some of the studies have found, is that when people are more stressed and anxious, their muscles become tenser and also constricted. As a result, the muscles then not just become inefficient but even fatigued as well over some time.
Tip: Electrical muscle stimulation can help you in treating muscle pain.
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Reducing Anxiety To Fight Joint Pain
Still, the main thing you need to do is reduce your anxiety. If anxiety is causing your joint pain, then the only way to ensure that it will go away completely is to stop experiencing anxiety. Unless you control your anxiety, you are going to constantly struggle with not only joint pain but also all of the other anxiety symptoms that make it so hard to enjoy your life.
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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.
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Schedule Tasks Around Your Flares
Learning when her pain will be the worst and her functionality will be the best has allowed Elizabeth P., of Ridgecrest, California, to better manage her rheumatoid arthritis. I do a few easy things in the morning when my body is still warming up. Then early afternoon I do any large tasks because thats when I feel my best. Afternoon I do dinner prep and by evening its only things I can do from a seated position, she explains. Knowing what she can do and when helps her days feel less stressful.
Figure Out What Stresses You Most
Even though some events seem inherently stressful including dealing with a year-plus-long pandemic stress is influenced as much or more by an individuals reaction to a situation as to the event itself.
Some people are more naturally resilient to stress, but anyone can learn to build their resilience, such as by teaching themselves to reframe situations in a more positive light. Scientists are also coming to see that many things play a role in our stress response, including gender for example, women are more apt to seek social support in stressful times .
It helps if you can determine the factors that bring on most of your stress. Stress can result from many different situations. Some stress is relatively self-limiting, but other stresses are more chronic, and we do make attempts, as clinicians, to figure out where these stresses may be coming from, Dr. Roseff says.
In some cases, to determine this you might benefit from an outsiders perspective, especially a psychotherapist or other mental health professional, says Daniel Muller, MD, a rheumatologist at UCHealth in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and a coauthor of Integrative Rheumatology.
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Stress Caused By Pain
Understandably, patients with chronic pain want to focus on how to reduce pain. To some extent, this focus is helpful. There are indeed a number of lifestyle changes, such as mild aerobic exercise and regular relaxation exercises, which, when done over time, can reduce pain. There are some medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants and antiepileptics, which have been shown to reduce pain too. However, these treatments are only so effective. We really dont have any treatments that are super effective for chronic pain. At the end of the day, chronic pain is chronic. Its not ultimately fixable. While some of things that can be done to reduce chronic pain are helpful, they are only mildly so.
Given this fact, if you cant fix the pain, then you might as well work on the problems that occur as a result of the pain. Its possible to have chronic pain and not have it disrupt your life. Its possible to have chronic pain and not be depressed about it. Its possible to have chronic pain and sleep well at night. Its possible to have chronic pain and work full-time. Its possible to have chronic pain and have a fulfilling and intimate relationship.
What patients learn could be called stress management and it involves cognitive behavioral therapies.
Ask For Help With Day
Recognizing that I couldnt do what I used to do and I needed to ask for help and that it is okay to need help was a huge relief for me, Rachel says. Let loved ones wash dishes, walk the dog, or do the laundry. Or hire someone who can help with housework during severe arthritis flares. This can help reduce anxiety that stems from feeling overwhelmed by your daily demands.
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Eat Small Frequent Meals
Large meals stress my body out and make me feel exhausted afterward, Meghan says. Conversely, being super hungry also feels very stressful to her. Her solution? I eat five or six mini meals spread out throughout my day, she explains. A healthy snack of protein and a fresh fruit or vegetable provides consistent energy and helps defuse stress.
How To Reduce Anxiety
If youre suffering from anxiety that is making your joint pain worse, there are a few things you can do to help. One solution is to focus on your diet. By eating the right foods you can reduce inflammation and improve your overall well-being. The importance of a balanced, healthy diet cannot be understated for both physical and mental wellness. You should also try to decrease your anxiety levels using a few simple remedies. Many people find that engaging in deep breathing exercises helps them to decompress from stressful situations. Listening to music can also be a great way to lower anxiety, as it diverts your attention away from things that may be weighing your mind down. And even light exercise has proven to be a great release. In addition to helping dissipate the hormones built up by anxiety, it can go a long way towards building a better, fitter body.
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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.
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How To Treat An Arthritis Flare
Sometimes arthritis flare-ups cannot be prevented. At this point, all you can do is get through it the best you can. There are some things you can do that may help provide you some relief.
Make a Plan
You should try to have a plan in place for when you are experiencing arthritis flare-ups.
If you have unavoidable activities that cannot be canceled when your arthritis acts up, let the key people involved know what is happening that way, accommodations can be made.
Apply Heat or Cold
You can choose to use a hot or cold compact or a hot/cold cream, whichever better fits your needs. If you are using a heating pad or an ice pack, youll want to apply it directly to the painful area for 15-20 minute intervals throughout the day. For the hot/cold cream, youll need to follow the product instructions and be sure not to overuse the topical treatment.
When youre already in pain, its essential to get enough rest. You dont want to put more pressure on your inflamed joints.
You may feel like you are getting behind, but your body needs the time to rest to not prolong the pain. Dont push yourself during a flare.
While you must get plenty of rest during a flare, you have to be careful of being too still.
Its crucial to get in some low-impact movement like going for a short walk or stretching. There are also hand exercises you can do to keep the joints from becoming stiff.
Consult Your Doctor
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