Anxiety can cause joint pain

Anxiety can cause joint pain

Anxiety can make life really miserable and one of the ways in which it can accomplish this is through joint pain.

The muscles of our bodies’ connect to our joints via ligaments. When our muscles contract like during times of exercise they exert tension on the ligaments which pull against the joints. This is why you move in response to a muscle contraction because your joints allow that movement in response to a muscle contraction. During times of anxiety or stress your muscles may be constantly tense which will in turn also exert tension on your joints. The pain you feel will be the result of overly tired muscles and joints caused by anxiety. To make things even worse, anxiety interferes with your pain perception lowering your pain threshold so that normal actions of your body may become more painful than they should be.

Anxiety can cause joint painThere are ways in which you can manage the unpleasant symptom of joint pain, but until you treat your anxiety these symptoms will just keep on resurfacing. Joint pain can also be symptom of a more serious condition like bursitis or osteoarthritis so it is best to always start your search for a solution at your physician.

Anxiety may be effectively cured by psychotherapy and especially cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. If you combine this type of therapy with relaxation exercises like deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation techniques the results can be even further improved. Massage therapy can also be beneficial for specifically muscle and joint pain.

Some natural supplements that have been studied for their efficiency in treating joint associated pain are the following:

  • Turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, cat’s claw, devil’s claw and willow bark. Turmeric is considered to be the most effective of these natural herbal anti-inflammatory plants. Even though the side effects associated with these herbs are less severe than those of medical Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) they may still occur. Possible side effects include stomach upset and possible bleeding.
  • Fish oil can help to reduce inflammation, a condition that may be spurred on by anxiety or stress and which can worsen not only joint pain, but pain in general. Although Omega 3 is thought to be beneficial in any form, experts advocate that fish oil is the best source. Research suggests a daily dose of 2 to 4 grams of DHA + EPA to help with the relief of chronic pain.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic pain. A good vitamin D supplement can help to relieve pain in people suffering from fibromyalgia, bone and joint pain.
  • Magnesium may help to reduce muscle spasms which in turn can help to relieve joint pain.

Anxiety does not permanently have to keep you in the grip of pain. With a little time and some effort you can be anxiety and pain free.


Simon, Harvey; Zieve, David. “Stress – Complications.” University of Maryland medical Center. 2009. (November 28, 2012)

“Supplements for Pain relief.”  WebMD. [No date] (November 28, 2012)

Borigini, Mark J; Zieve, David. “Joint Pain.” University of Maryland medical Center. 2010. (November 28, 2012)

Dugdale, David C; Zieve, David. “Joint pain.” MedlinePlus. 2012. (November 28, 2012)

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