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STRESS AND ARTHRITIS: A VICIOUS CYCLE

Dr. I. Vishwanatha Reddy, Wednesday, June 3, 2020

WHAT IS STRESS?

Stress is primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action. This causes a number of reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions such as digestion.


WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?

Arthritis, or "joint inflammation," is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. Arthritis is inflammation (swelling) in and around the body’s joints. Inflammation can cause knee pain, joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as loss of movement in some patients.


HOW ARE STRESS AND ARTHRITIS CONNECTED?

People with arthritis must confront the same kinds of stress as everyone else. Additionally, living with chronic arthritis creates another medley of stressful problems. Chronic arthritis adds the stress of pain, fatigue, depression, dependence, altered finances, employment, social life, self- esteem and self-image.

During stressful times, the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream and physical changes occur. The physical changes give the body added strength and energy and prepare the body to deal with the stressful event. When stress is dealt with positively the body restores itself and repairs any damage caused by the stress. However, when stress builds up without any release, it affects the body negatively.

A vicious cycle occurs in the relationship of arthritis and stress. The difficulties which arise from living with chronic arthritis create stress. The stress causes muscle tension and increased pain along with worsening arthritic symptoms. The worsening symptoms lead back to more stress.


HOW BEST TO DEAL WITH STRESS?

Life can be hectic, and sometimes stress is unavoidable. But some ways you can deal with stress are:

  • Identify the causes of stress in your life.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings.
  • Try not to get depressed.
  • Simplify your life as much as possible.
  • Manage your time, and conserve your energy.
  • Set short-term and life goals for yourself.
  • Do not turn to drugs and alcohol.
  • Utilize arthritis support and education services.
  • Become as mentally and physically fit as possible.
  • Develop a sense of humour and have some fun.
  • Get help to cope with hard-to- solve problems.
  • Realize that you can change only yourself, not others.
  • Allow yourself to be imperfect.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
  • Learn to overcome barriers to relaxation.


WHY KIMS?

If you are ever diagnosed with Rheumatic Arthritis or RA or Rheumatoid Arthritis, consider KIMS, one of the best orthopaedic hospitals for arthritis in Hyderabad. At KIMS, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Our unique facility provides patients with easy access to the MRI/CT Centre, x-ray, lab, and other resources needed for comprehensive arthritis treatment in Hyderabad. Each patient is treated under the expert care of Dr. Sarat Chandra Mouli, KIMS Arthritis Specialist in Hyderabad. We also have counselling centres for managing stress so that it does not impact our arthritis patients breaking the vicious cycle between stress and arthritis.

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