Around 30% of those who suffer from arthritis pain also report a high level of stress. This is almost three times the stress level of the general public.
That’s because stress triggers your immune system, which causes inflammation, which of course worsens arthritis.
A new study published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy reveals that people with arthritis can almost eliminate their pain and stress level at the same time.
The researchers recruited 241 people with joint pain, some of whom went on to develop rheumatoid arthritis and some of whom did not.
They measured the levels of psychological stress of these participants with the Mental Health Inventory and the Perceived Stress Scale at the beginning of the study and during follow-up visits.
They measured their systemic inflammation with a blood test for a pro-inflammatory chemical called C-reactive protein.
They also measured their joint inflammation using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of their wrist, finger, and toe joints.
At the beginning of the study, 12% of people with joint pain suffered from high levels of psychological stress.
This was no higher at that point for those who ended up developing arthritis than those who didn’t. This indicates that stress doesn’t actually cause full blown arthritis.
The moment arthritis was diagnosed, their stress levels increased until 31% of them experienced high stress.
So being diagnosed with such a serious disease increased stress and therefore joint pain.
Luckily, during the first year of treatment, stress levels dropped again, until only 8% of arthritis patients experienced extreme stress.
So, interestingly, by beginning to do something about their arthritis, the participants experienced lower stress levels than before they were diagnosed. This was true even if the traditional medical system had no cure.