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Effects of hormones, nerves stress on RA symptoms
#1
All the reading in different forums is making me so stressed and depressed. I have burning and pain in most of my toes and my feet. My third finger and my thumb hurt on both hands and I am so worried that I will be unable to work and look after my family. I am divorced with two children and I don't want to lose them because I am an unfit mother. My parents help but they are in their 70s themselves and can't be looking after my kids.

I am so stressed and I think that the stress and anxiety is making my symptoms worse. Am I just losing my mind or is this something that can happen?!? Help, please!

#2
Stress will make our symtoms worse, stress will make everything worse! Stress will increase the inflammation which causes Rheumatoid Arthritis. You need to learn to manage your stress better and be proactive in promoting relaxation. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, enjoying nature etc can reduce stress naturally.
#3
I am sorry to hear that you have so much on your plate! It can be awful. Have you been diagnosed very long? From your pain it sounds like your medications aren't working and it is time to see the doctor or you have just started to take them.

#4
When you read the forums, you have to keep in mind that people who are doing alright do not usually post because they are not having problems. Many people with RA respond very positively to medications so once you find better medications, you might do better. It is a matter of getting a good rheumatologist (they are not all the same) who is willing to work with you to get the right medications for you. You will serve yourself better by trying to be calem although I do know that it can be hard at times.

#5
Thanks for responding. I am new to RA and just starting into methotrexate and sulfasalazine. I was told that it can take a few months to work but I am very skeptical. It just seemed that the rheumatology doctor was too positive and uninterested in my suffering. He barely saw me for 10 minutes for his initial assessment.

Can someone please answer whether stress and anxiety makes the symptoms worse?

#6
Some of the rheumatologists really lack the people skills that is certain. They forget that for people newly diagnosed, it can really feel as if life is ending. I would avoid looking to them for support but instead rely on them for their skills. Some people have rheumatologists that they really do not like much but they stay with them because they know what they are doing.

To answer your question about stress and anxiety, they can make symptoms worse. Fundamentally, anything that can affect your immune system can cause symptoms to get worse. This can be stress, anxiety and depression. A cold, flu or even a few poor night's sleep can lead to a lot of pain. I hope that helps!

#7

(2012-08-12 12:14 PM)butterfly51 Wrote: Some of the rheumatologists really lack the people skills that is certain. They forget that for people newly diagnosed, it can really feel as if life is ending. I would avoid looking to them for support but instead rely on them for their skills. Some people have rheumatologists that they really do not like much but they stay with them because they know what they are doing.

To answer your question about stress and anxiety, they can make symptoms worse. Fundamentally, anything that can affect your immune system can cause symptoms to get worse. This can be stress, anxiety and depression. A cold, flu or even a few poor night
s sleep can lead to a lot of pain. I hope that helps!
Ideally you would be able to find a competent rheumatologist you actually like, but I don
t think it matters because you will not be spending much time with them and the quality of the treatment comes before the relationship.

#8
I think you need help with managing your condition. Your rheumatologist is right - sulphasalazine does take a while to make an improvement, but it will come. I've been on it for 15 years now, and I refuse to let my doctor take me off it, as it is keeping my condition under control.

Is there a branch of Arthritis Care, or another arthritis charity near you? They can be very helpful in teaching disease management skills, including non-medical pain management, and positive thinking, which will help to bring down your stress levels.
#9
Thank you. I think that is happening. I really need to get myself under control. I am stressed, laying in bed worrying and about my kids, my parents and my job so my sleep has been awful. Then I hurt all day and worry more. I can't afford to lose it. It has been three years since a very bitter divorce and I was finally on my feet again with a great job before RA struck.

#10
If you can do it and you trust your employer, I would let the employer know about your illness. If they are supportive, they can recognize that you need some time for the medications to work properly and can accommodate. If it is a physically demanding job you may have to transition to something that is not as hard on your joints.





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