How Stress Can Trigger PMR

Stress is a way that our body responds to any kind of threat or demand. Learn how stress can trigger PMR and what you can do to reduce frequent stress.

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disease and the cause is unknown but there are some studies that connects to genetics or hereditary causes as well as environment.  It is common for a patient with PMR to experience pain and stiffness in some parts of the body specifically the neck, shoulders, upper arms and hips. For some, the pain can occur all over the body.

Morning Stiffness in Polymyalgia

Polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms are common during the morning but it can also be experienced on a regular basis.  When the symptoms worsens or when they frequently occur for over a period of time, the condition is commonly called as a “flare”. It is the exacerbation or worsening of the existing PMR symptoms.

There are different factors that can worsen a patient’s condition, such as the environment, lifestyle, and stress.


Stress & Polymyalgia Rheumatica

A research on the causes of polymyalgia was conducted at the Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences, Keele University,UK . Researchers Tshimologo MSaunders BMuller S, et al found out from 739 people that personal stress caused their PMR. 53.14% of the respondents who were between 38-89 years old experienced stressful situations from caring for terminally-ill relatives, bereavement, stressful demands of their jobs or from own serious diseases such as cancer. 

Stress is a way that our body responds to any kind of threat or demand. It is the automatic process known as the fight or flight reaction of the body. This is also called stress response.

Stress is not always harmful or bad for your health as long as it is manageable. It helps you to focus and meet challenges in life.

When someone feels threatened, the nervous system responds by releasing stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline to prepare the body for an emergency action.

The heart works double and pounds blood faster. The muscles tighten. There is an increase in the blood pressure. Breathing also increases and your senses are either distracted or more sharpened. Thus preparing the body to react to any imminent threat in either fight or flight response.

Importance of Reducing Stress in PMR

In the treatment of polymyalgia, one of the most important factors is the reduction of stress. This includes both emotional and mental pressure as they can contribute to the physical manifestations of the polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms.

Having a calm mind can have a huge impact on the body. It is beneficial especially when the patient is in pain and there is an inflammation. The comparatively deficient cortisol response to frequent stress causes the persistent inflammation in PMR.

This is where the lifestyle and diet comes in. Diet modification is important.

Elimination or reduction in the consumption of alcohol and caffeine is advised. Taking large amount of alcohol and caffeine can cause anxiety, irritability, and restlessness thus losing focus.

Caffeine is not only found in coffee, it is also found in some soft drinks, energy drinks and tea. They make you feel awake and alert. However, studies revealed that green tea is beneficial. It boosts antioxidants to the brain and body. Just make sure to check the labels before buying to know if it is caffeine-free.

Manage Stress in PMR

Managing stress or anxiety on a day-to-day basis is important in polymyalgia treatment. When there is presence of stress, you must be aware of the changes in your body. This will help you to focus, relax and calm down to let the tension disappear.

The mind and the body works hand in hand to make this possible as they send signals to each other in times of stress.

There is a popular saying that “Laughter is the best medicine and that’s true”. It is the cheapest and most effective way in dealing with stress and relieve the symptoms of PMR.

Having a happy disposition can relieve the effects of stress in the body. It can ease the tense muscles, maintain mental focus and relieve mental tension.

Laughter also provides you with a different perspective in life and promotes positivism in dealing with difficult circumstances. Beneficial hormones and chemicals are released to the entire body. This will make you feel better. This is the best way to start treating the polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms.

2 thoughts on “How Stress Can Trigger PMR”

  1. I was diagnose with PMR approximately 1 yr ago, and I convince, without the help of my doctor, that it was due to stress. My stressful situation gets worst daily, so do my PMR. What will eventually happen if this continues.

  2. I have always been the mule for my family when stressful situations were needing addressed. I am 72 now, and during my 70th year Polymyalgia attacked me. I exercise riding a bike, and it helps relieve my symptoms, but they never go away. I am concerned about my general health being affected as the next stage having Polymyalgia. I am having difficulty getting defined progression of this disease. What is next short term, and for the next part of my life with this disease?


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