Hi Is it possible to have more pain or flare up when ... - NRAS

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Hi Is it possible to have more pain or flare up when feeling stressed.Or is this just coincidence?

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Hi cInders ,

It is absolutely normal and nothing to do with coincidence I am afraid . I have and RA for a few years now and I know when I get stressed, either emotionally or physically, my RA simply runs amok . Took me a while to recognise that happens, and I try so very hard to adopt a more relaxed outlook. I found even letting my pain levels increase is enough to allow a flare to starts me that was a hard lesson to learn and it took my rheum. Nurse to sit down with me and explain just what I was doing to my body whether I liked it or not.

So, when I can , I make myself sit down and treat myself like a precious orchid, make sure I eat the right things, drink enough, keep my pain under control and do not cause myself any additional stress. That said, I am sitting here laughing wishing I took my own advice and the words pot ,kettle and black resound in my head.

So my advice is simply be kind to yourself and treat yourself like you would your best friend and make sure you listen to your body and rest and sleep when you need it.

Take care of you

Sal

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Thanks Sal, i am not used to this although i have had been diagnosed RA for some time i have been lucky enough to be relatively in minimal pain. Under a bit of stress at work and didnt know if i was just a bit tense or wheter could be a flare up .But looks like its linked.Yes we are all bad a tking our own advice.Lolx Cinders

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Hello Cinder

Yes, is generally the case, stressed by pain, pain by stress.

Generally a pain circle, even worse if the pain is severe

Chronic Pain is generally a non productive pain,that differs from an acute pain Chronic pain will show differently in each patient with the same complaint, even stress and magnitude will differ.

All the best

BOB

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Thanks Bob

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Yes stress can cause flares. Some people keep a diary and have found stress, spicy food, to make RA worse, but the spicy food doesn't set everyone off!!

Weird isn't it , have a gentle few days after work if you canxxx

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Thanks Allanah i will try.

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Love your tag name by the way xx

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After a particularly brutal flare up a few years ago my occupational therapist was visiting me in my working/ home environmnent. I told her about this flare up which had just taken place after a particularly stressful day and she said that it made sense to her that RA is affected a great deal by stress because it's an autoimmune disease and therefore our immune defenses would become overactive and miss fire all over the place as a result of stress. I'm not sure about the science of this but this arguement made sense to me as well. I agree with Sal about the orchid analogy too and this approach seems to work well for me.

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Thanks RArebird.

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Hi Cinders, the answer is most definitely yes. While I was studying for my reflexology diploma I did one of my theses on stress and was gobsmacked by the wide-ranging effects it has on the body and health. In a nutshell, stress can cause biochemical changes to the immune system and increase inflammation. If you add the muscle-tensing we get when adrenalin and cortisol is released by our fight or flight instincts it's no wonder we get increased pain. I often find clients that come to me with stress find many of their aches and pains start improving or even disappearing after a few treatments. I now have an arsenal of relaxation cds etc to try and help myself as getting my feet up anywhere near my hands to treat myself is very much easier said than done!

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Yes STRESS does cause flare ups and fatigue. I've had RA since my late 20s and every time I went through a really upsetting time or a real stressful time in my life my RA would flare up . I would also suffer from really bad fatigue.

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Stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise are all factors - which actually sucks, because how do you exercise or sleep well when you hurt so much? And then that makes you more stressed out! Vicious circle that's hard to get out of. Meditation/Stress Management Techniques can help, as well as forcing yourself to do whatever bit of activity you can handle. My hands are very sore, but my feet seem pretty good, so I am forcing myself to walk at lunch every day, even in -20 (I'm in Ottawa, Canada), and I think it does help - especially the break I take at the midway point to lie in the snow and "suntan" my cheeks and nose. :)

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I think so Cinders - I'm definitely worse when other things in my life are difficult. For example I had flares after a death in the family and when my husband was very ill - it feels as if my body can only deal with so much at a time and sometimes something has to give!!

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