Managing the Stress of Arthritis With Meditation
The chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis can lead to many deficits in the life of a person suffering from the disease. However, one of the greatest effects the pain can have is the stress and anguish it brings.
There are a few reasons why the pain and limitation of activities can be so stressful. Firstly, simply anticipating the pain you will experience throughout the day or with certain activities can be very stressful. It is unnerving to know pain is coming your way but not know exactly the level, length, and characteristic of the pain. Some days the pain is not so bad but other days can be excruciating, and this inconsistency can cause great stress.
It is also worrisome to think about whether the modality you use to cope with the pain will work and not cause any negative side effects. Many of pain-relieving medications for arthritis can result in gastritis, cardiovascular effects, and even addiction. These added factors can complicate your health and make the stress of pain management even worse.
Many activities and events in life are stressful and difficult even when a person is healthy. The pain that an arthritic sufferer experiences often amplifies the normal amount of stress they would experience from a stressful life event. Knowing how difficult a long day’s work, important test, or interview will be because of the pain and limitations of arthritis can cause great stress.
How can you not be stressed if it’s the biggest day of your life and both your knees feel like they’re on fire due to arthritis in those joints? Figuring out how to combat the pain, get through the day, and hold your composure while doing so can also cause a significant strain.
The pain brought on by arthritis is stressful, but it can be even more nerve-wracking if you lack a proper support system or are surrounded in an environment lacking empathy. The fact that people don’t understand chronic pain can be disheartening and lead to distrust. Arthritic sufferers need those that are close to them to be their support and a shoulder to lean on when they are struggling.
Most of us expect our friends and family to understand and support us when we are struggling. Nothing is more stressful than to have someone you value dismiss your pain and treat it with skepticism, or even resentment. Having people around you not understand your pain can lead to a general mistrust, pessimism, and cause you to stress over how to deal with these dysfunctional relationships.
Next page: how meditation can help, and some tips for getting started.