How does stress affect RA?

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately. Seems like everything always happens at once! I have had increased pain, fatigue, insomnia, and generally just been feeling worse. Could this be due to the stress? I am only on Naproxen for pain and methotrexate for the RA. The naproxen really helped a lot until about the last week, when all heck seems to have broken loose. I am new to this but I have read that stress is really bad for anything auto-immune related. How do you avoid it? Stress is just part of life lol.

17 Replies

  • I think stress most definitely causes flares. The stress causes me to hurt and therefore I have trouble sleeping. It is a never ending story.

  • Hi jmiller46. Yes, stress can and does cause our bodies to react and thus flare up with swelling, serious fatigue and not sleeping...among others. I have a pretty stressful job that gets even more stressful during the 4th quarter of the every year. It's so bad that I basically live in flip flops or no shoes when I'm sitting at my desk because my feet and ankles will swell up so bad that they hurt and turn into feet balloons. I have talked with my rheumy about it and also my primary doctor and was told to see a therapist to learn better coping skills when I get stressed. It's a lot to type but I learned breathing exercises and types of meditation. Also, if you are able to get outside and exercise, even just for a short walk helps. It can be hard to exercise when you are so tired and hurt but even just a little can help. Stress will always be a part of life, like you said. However there are a lot of resources out there that can help you find skills that can work best for you. Talk to ur doctor and see if they have any suggestions for you and any referrals to another doctor/therapist. Also, I invested in a TENS unit and putting that on areas where I am swollen or my joints hurt, along with ice, feels really good. I'm pretty new to all this too and it's already so hard to deal with and come to terms with. All we can do is to take it one day at a time and continue to put one foot in front of the other. All the best to you on your journey. Many blessings 💜

  • I found one somewhere the other day involved cursing. It was beneficial :).

  • YES! That top one is spectacular lol.

  • Thanks for posting Kai. :)

  • Thanks guys :). I do have a TENS seems to be lost in the shuffle from a recent move. Now I have to find a new job. I do home health care and my client of 5 years is no longer able to stay home. Or we COULD hit the lottery lol. That would make things much easier.

  • has been one of those weeks when it would be nice to still be able to partake of alcoholic beverages in abundance and not have to worry about the dang liver going kaput.

    The job thing is the worst part. I do home health and it is pretty difficult to find clients here that don't go through an agency (they don't pay ya hardly anything through those agencies and I am excellent at my job and feel that should be compensated appropriately lol). I have taken care of my last one for about 10 years and this is like losing an ornery older brother (he didn't die but he is no longer at home). So...if I can't find another client or two I don't know what to do. It is rough finding a job where you don't have to stand long, or sit long, or walk too far, lift heavy things, or one that allows you to run off every hour or more to throw up (depending on the day). UGH. BUT it will all be fine....eventually.

  • We could probably scrape by without my income but that I am so BORED already LOL. Even when I decided to be a "stay at home mom" when our kids were little I still worked little part time jobs. Plus we are just buying a different house that needs a little (lot) of TLC so the extra money was going for repairs, upgrades, and so on :). Y'all are so nice. It is like a breath of fresh air in here.

  • Well my doctor wants me to use meloxicam only as a last resort. Usually arthritis otc meds play with your numbers . Try ice first

  • I know the naproxen helps more than I realize because he pulled me off of it for 2 weeks for blood work a while back. Dang sed rate was 48 lol. The new labs I just got back, WITH the naproxen and methotrexate, sed rate was 11. With just the naproxen it was 12. The husband says I am over reacting and obsessing (again), but it is pretty hard NOT to.

  • Methotrexate will stay in your system for a month or more if you stop taking it.

  • Oh I will keep taking it. I had a long talk with this little affliction the day my results came back. Read that 6% of people are able to go into remission. Told it sorry to tell ya but we are gonna be in that 6% so don't get too cozy in there. It may be a stubborn disease but it hasn't ever met this particular Miller :).

  • Dear Jmiller,

    My rheumatologist did tell me that stress might be one of the cause of RA hence she told me to let go of whatever that stress me in both work or family. It is never easy but for our own health, I think we have to let go of the hard and stressful time and move on with a light heart.

    I do not take thing hard anymore these days really to avoid any relapse.

  • I personally believe that the extreme stress I suffered for 2 years is what caused my RA. I believe everyone may have different triggers for RA. Mine was stress.

  • Stress triggers RA. It can lie dormant for an entire life on,y to be triggered by trauma or massive stress. This is hard to prove with a direct link but in reading many testimonies it becomes clear that an accident, trauma or extremely stressful situation precipitated the outbreak of RA. You'll find this correlation with all other auto immune diseases. It's also a fact that over 75% of RA suffered experienced extreme childhood trauma. Stress and trauma also cause PTSD, which is now also linked to imbalances in the gut lining. Other studies reveal gut-immune system links. It's critical to avoid as much stress as possible, to get help to relieve ptsd, and to work on healing the gut. That's my 7cents worth this morning. 🌺

  • Well I am in the 25% I childhood trauma here. I was a sickly child though. All the time at the Dr. and missing school, but otherwise pretty typical. Was very energetic until I got pregnant with our daughter at 19. Now THAT was a rough pregnancy. Almost from day one I had no energy. Was very sick. Had to quit college. Dr's orders...not laziness...ended up with pre-eclampsia and delivered via C-section at 32 weeks. Also had seizures during the c-section. Our tiny preemie daughter (this was in '89 so 8 weeks was pretty early back then) was ready to go home before I was. I never regained my former energy. I have been exhausted for 28 years lol. It didn't get unbearable until last September. I got a flu and never bounced back at all. I dropped 60lbs between September and January. Couldn't keep anything down. Couldn't stay awake. It was awful. Was finally forced to go to the Dr by the hubby. I hate HATE hate going to the Dr. Got lucky and found an awesome nurse practitioner that knew right away what was going on. Tests confirmed the RA and its been all downhill from there. My grandmother and aunt also both had rheumatoid arthritis so I suppose it wasn't that shocking. They never really did anything to treat it though. I don't know how they did it :(.

  • Well....I found a job :). It is not as many hours as the old one (which is good and bad at the same time) but she does have dogs, which is a huge plus. I LOVE puppers lol. I still miss my guy but it is looking like coming home is not going to be in the cards for him.

You may also like...