Studies show that stress is a predisposing factor to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Experts are suggesting that the stress hormones that are released in response to stress, trigger cells that cause swelling in joints. In a study of 100 people with rheumatoid arthritis at Arizona State University, it was found that pain and hormone levels were twice as high among those reporting high degrees of interpersonal stress than those not stressed. Some studies have shown that the hormones migrate to joints, where it leads to swelling, pain, and tenderness. More studies are currently in progress to determine the correlation.
This can become a vicious cycle, arthritis may increase stress depending upon level of pain and activity. Some may feel stress from not being able to do the activities they used to do. Some may have to rely on others for help in getting around or dressed and some may feel stressed about how their joints look. Learning to manage stress can help you feel better mentally and physically as well as reduce your pain.