The pain associated with arthritis isn’t solely physical, but may have severe emotional impacts as well. A recent study by the University of Manchester Rheumatic Diseases Centre found that pain in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, the amygdala, thalamus and cingulate cortex became highly active during episodes of pain, signaling increased fear, anxiety and distress.
It is, therefore, important to manage physical pain in order to keep emotional balance when dealing with arthritis. The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center published an article about the high rate of depression in those with chronic pain, such as the pain resulting from arthritis. Anti-depressants may combat both pain and depression; however, desirable results may also come from increased exercise, socialization and a nutritious diet. The combination of these factors not only keeps emotions balanced, but they work together to allow the body to function better in all regards.
Patients who are unable to participate in social activities they formerly enjoyed are at a higher risk for depression. It’s wise for arthritis patients to schedule in social activities with friends and family on a regular basis, and to maintain friendships that stimulate and engage them. While it is natural for arthritis patients to want to withdraw as their symptoms increase, keeping up an active social calendar is an enjoyable form of therapy that actually works to promote better health, which in turn leads to less pain.