Stress and flares

Hi i was recently diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis in May. I have been reading peoples posts everyday and it is reassuring to know other people are having similar problems to me, i just wanted to know does stress and anxiety make your symptoms worse? I have been on Hydroxychloroquine for about 3 months now and i am feeling a lot better, i feel like my joints have been oiled, they actually feel loose!! But i do still get some pain and tenderness mainly in my hands and wrists, elbows, knees and ankles + left foot. I have recently applied for a new job where i work and have an interview tomorrow each day i am getting more anxious and stressed about it and have noticed my joints are starting to hurt more, especially today, after a night shift, which doesn't help! Does anyone else have the same problem?

13 Replies

  • My RD is definitely worse when I am at all stressed, it's difficult to know what to do about it, if you start worrying about it, it becomes a vicious circle. So now I remind myself that stress makes things worse, and try to accept that. Some people find that relaxation exercises, or mindfulness techniques help.

    Hope the stress passes, good luck with the interview!

    M xx

  • Thanks Hatshepsut, i'm sure after tomorrow i will start to feel better, i will be able to relax a bit more! xx

  • Yes, it's a known trigger I'm afraid. It's impossible to be totally stress free, life just not that kind but doing all you can to avoid it will help. Obviously this is an important time for you, a different job probably bringing more responsibility but once you've settled in the stress should ease.

    Being comparatively newly diagnosed it's also possible that you're not completely controlled either so you'll probably notice various niggles for a little while yet so you're possibly not experiencing a true flare but just try to relax in the evenings, that should help.

    Welcome by the way! Hope you enjoy being here & good luck for tomorrow. :)

  • Thank you nomoreheels, sorry i didn't reply yesterday but i was so rapped up in practicing my interview and doing research! I feel a bit better now i have had the interview, not sure if it went so well, just waiting now. You're probably right about my RA not being totally controlled yet but i do feel a lot better then i used and who knows if i wasn't on treatment i could have had a much worse flare! :)

  • No probs, I know how it is & indeed that's something to be thankful for! It's pretty impossible to predict the outcome of interviews so all you can do is wait & see & not stress whilst waiting to hear back. It's done now & I'm sure you gave it your best.

  • Welcome! I've noticed that when my stress or anxiety levels get silly so does my RD. It's rotten, but true. As nmh says, it's impossible to have a stressless life, but I'm finding actively managing my stress helps (at least to some extent). A cup of tea is usually my best de-stresser, I make a moment to enjoy it, breathe, read a book perhaps, anything that helps me let go of the future and the past. A walk, even a short one, helps to head off the anxiety.


  • Thank you Bats, i know life will never totally be stress free and i suppose i am going to have to learn to deal withit, but lets hope i don't have to have too many interviews, they are my worst fear, i keep going blank and repeating myself!

    Ganit :)

  • *wry grin* I don't know that interviews are anyone's favourite thing - they're not mine! I have a lot of experience with going blank, though. I do public speaking for a couple volunteer organizations here, and sometimes, all my cleverness just goes poof. That's when I take a deep breath and pause, because if it was a conversation just between me and someone else, that's what I'd do. It's really okay :) Best of luck to you,


  • I don't know how you do public speaking, I admire you, you are either very confident or just good at hiding your nerves!

    Ganit :)

  • Hmm stress is pretty tough to eliminate. I am trying to learn some mindfulness based stress reduction techniques to help day to day. Who knows if it helps reduce flare ups but it feels good so I am continuing. Cheers Doreen

  • Thanks for the tip Doreen.

    Ganit :)

  • welcome to the site!! Yes I do believe stress plays a huge roll in RD. Severe stress is what triggered my RD and I can only hope and pray it will go into remission. I wish everyone remission soon.

  • Thanks very much for your reply suzannedale, it seems to take a while to settle down with stress as well! If i over do things it can bring on some pain and tenderness but settles down within a couple of days but this seems to have lasted about a week!! :(


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