by Mrs. Sharayu Bhat

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an auto immune disease which is common among women. RA patients suffer from pain which affect their quality of life deeply.

Stress is an inevitable part of our daily lives, and it comes from small, day-in-day-out annoyances, like being stuck in traffic or waiting in long queues. Regardless of the cause, RA patients notice that when their stress level rises, so does their pain. Whether it is RA, osteoarthritis or lupus, any condition plus stress make the condition worse. Thus stress plays role in the actual inflammation that causes pain.

The first step is getting to the root of the stress. Stress can have a lot of different causes. Some stress is self-limiting, like the death of loved one....time alone will help. But there are other stresses that are chronic, so try to get to the bottom of it. Once you find out the true reason for it, you need to deal with it. Of course, not all stress can be eliminated in a snap-like a job with constant deadlines. In that case, the goal is to manage it.

In some cases, seeing a counsellor or a psychiatrist can help. Stress can have an underlying component of depression. For that, doctor can prescribe anti-depressants.Several have pain relieving qualities as well. Some times the stress and pain connection can work in reverse-you may feel that your worsening RA is stressing. You talk to your doctor if you feel that your RA is not responding to your current treatment plan, there might be other options to try. If your RA is under control, but you are experiencing pain, that pain also can increase your stress level.

Here are some options that will not only help relieve stress, but will also help to relieve some of your RA symptoms at the same time.

Practice Yoga-
This mind-body approach can be very good in terms of stretching, spirituality and relaxation. Patients who practice yoga do well.

Exer c i se benef i t s you emotionally and physically. It strengthens the joints and Structures surrounding the joints. It helps you sleep better and provides stress relief.

Working with good caring physiotherapist can make marked improvement in symptoms.

Working with a health counsellor provides other strategy to help alleviate your pain. A professional can help you learn to relax and change the way you think about your pain and underlying disease. Just talking about your pain can provide a much needed release.

Stress can influence the level of pain, treating the stress can improve your condition. Try to erase the sources of stress over which you have control, then explore different techniques for easing the stress that you can not fully eliminate. your joints will thank you.