Physical Symptoms
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How Anxiety Can Induce Joint Pain

Faiq Shaikh, M.D.
How Anxiety Can Induce Joint Pain

Joint pain is most often related to getting older and exercising. So it's a bit surprising that joint pain can be caused by changes in your mental health. Yet many people experience joint pain from anxiety on a regular basis, and in some cases that joint pain can be enough to alter a person's day-to-day movements.

Joint pain is a complex anxiety symptom and one that may be as much mental as it is physical. But the pain is genuine, and in many cases, it is a type of pain that is hard to control and harder to overcome.

The Links Between Anxiety and Joint Pain

The first thing that you need to ask yourself is whether or not you have anxiety at all. Joint pain is never a standalone symptom of anxiety. It's something that develops as your anxiety develops. 

Anxiety and joint pain enjoy a complicated relationship, and one that is not nearly as simple as saying "anxiety causes joint pain”. The reality is that anxiety causes problems that affect the creation and experience of joint pain. Some people absolutely will get joint pain from anxiety, but not everyone that claims to experience joint pain is necessarily experiencing the pain they believe.

Causes of anxiety joint pain include:

Joint pain and discomfort can be incredibly complex, and it's possible that the relationship between your own joint pain and anxiety is not as simple as what is listed above. Stress and anxiety affect nutrition, they affect hormones, they affect organ function - they affect everything that is involved in the way the body works. That's why the link between joint pain and anxiety may not ever be fully clear.

Joint pain is still joint pain, and so even when it's caused by anxiety, it can be addressed through traditional joint pain treatments. Seeing a doctor is always a smart idea to rule out any joint pain problems that may be unrelated to anxiety and to get recommendations for specific ways to address this type of joint issue.

Some people find over-the-counter painkillers to work, but it's not advised to use any medicine if you can avoid it. You can also try glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. These natural supplements are believed to possibly nourish the joints for those living with arthritis but may be valuable for those that have joint pain regularly.

Stretching and looking at your movements is also important. Make sure that you are not doing anything to regularly contribute to your joint discomfort. You may be sitting oddly, shaking often, or avoiding exercise that could strengthen your muscles and improve joint mobility. Stretching is also important, as is hydration, so make sure you are doing those as well.

Reducing Anxiety to Fight Joint Pain

Still, the main thing you need to do is reduce your anxiety. If anxiety is causing your joint pain, then the only way to ensure that it will go away completely is to stop experiencing anxiety. Unless you control your anxiety, you are going to constantly struggle with not only joint pain but also all of the other anxiety symptoms that make it so hard to enjoy your life.

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