Stress & Joint Pain

There is a direct connection between stress and joint pain. Stress can produce an inflammatory response in your body that can cause your joints to swell and become less mobile. The stiffness can make it difficult to move and to your day-to-day tasks. Stress and joint pain are linked because stress has a direct effect on your immune system, and a weakened immune system can make you feel joint pressure. You develop muscular tension when you are under stress for a long time. This makes your muscles become stiff and compels your joints to work harder. Pushing your joints too hard can cause inflammation and further discomfort.

A 2012 study published in Occupational Medicine, states, “Stress and back pain are two key factors leading to sickness absence at work. Recent research indicates that yoga can be effective for reducing perceived stress, alleviating back pain and improving psychological well-being.”

The Arthritis Foundation published an article entitled, Yoga Benefits for Arthritis that states: “Recent scientific studies of people with various types of arthritis show that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep.”

The key to yoga is that yoga is not just exercise. Yoga brings you into the present. Yoga uses breath to help you release tension when you are moving or holding a posture. Yoga is mindful and yoga is meditative.

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Kirsten Erickson, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT200, RYT500, iRest® Yoga Nidra Level 1 Teacher, Yoga Wellness North