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Stress and P.F.

Posted by Pauline on 5/12/04 at 21:46 (150495)

Taking a poll. Has anyone else noticed their P.F. symptoms tends to increase, flair or just remind you of your P.F. when added stress is added to your daily life?

Re: Stress and P.F.

Steve G on 5/12/04 at 22:48 (150497)

Interesting questions, Pauline. My PF seems worse when I am tired or stressed. Falling apart, like I seem to be the last few years, has caused me to reflect on pain more than I ever have before, and it's a bit more complicated than you might think at first glance. There is the sensation itself, and your attitude toward it. A level of pain that can be hard to tolerated in the morning when you are getting ready for work, can be no big deal when you are laying on the couch that evening watching TV. I don't think that fatigue and stress increase the pain, they just make it harder to cope with -- if that makes sense. This is, I suppose, why pain centers deal with anxiety and depression as a way of helping pain patients.

Re: Stress and P.F.

Robert J on 5/13/04 at 00:00 (150500)

Pauline --

Please excuse that last interrupted post. I was saying that, yes, I have noticed the correlation between stress and an increase in PF pain. Here's something else I might add: I have also suffered, for many years, with repetitive strain injury in my wrist and forearms that originally came from computer overuse. I noticed the same phenomenon with RSI. Long after the soft tissue damage should have healed from any RSI injury, I would sink back into the pain cycle when certain stress situations arose. No one could ever explain this, and, indeed, RSI is almost as mysterious as PF.

Now, with PF, it is spooky to me to see the same pattern arise. I have noticed on these message boards that people occasionally speak of going on vacations or going scuba diving or whatever and they have a period of remission of symptoms. I have noticed the same thing myself.

Both RSI and PF are injuries to soft tissues that also involve the peripheral nervous system and -- if I may play doctor here -- the peripheral nervous system is known for going a bit haywire. A doctor at Johns Hopkins, for example, has theorized that RSI chronic pain has the same origins as phantom limb pain. In other words, it's a pain loop that gets laid down in the peripheral nervous system. And once laid down, it tends to interpret otherwise innocent motor activity as pain-inducing activity, even though the original injury is healed.

Does the same thing happen with PF? I dunno, but I've often wondered.

Re: Stress and P.F.

Dorothy on 5/13/04 at 01:11 (150501)

Have you ever read any of Dr. Sarno's books? They pertain to back pain, but the principles would apply to other physical problems. What you were writing made me think of his work and that you might find it worth exploring.

Re: Stress and P.F.

Kathy G on 5/13/04 at 10:42 (150510)

Yes, I have found that the pain of PF is worse when I am stressed but I, too, have always assumed that because of the stress, the pain is harder for me to cope with. Of course, you can then get into the old question of which came first, the pain or the stress. You have pain, so you have stress. You have stress, so you have pain. But ultimately, I would have to say that, for me, any pain I'm experiencing seems to be worse if I am in a stressful situation.

Re: Stress and P.F.

Sher on 5/14/04 at 20:34 (150610)

Hi Pauline,

With me anyway, it is the very stress from the PF that makes it worse for me, that and just having had my family doctor tell me this is all in my head. What an insufferable b******! Thank the Lord they at least don't expect animals to bear the pain that we humans have to.

Re: Back pain

sandy h. on 5/14/04 at 23:07 (150616)

Much of pain in the extremities, including RSI and I think PF (i've had both) is due to poor posture and back pain that leads to some muscles being too tight. When you are stressed, the body releases drugs that make your muscles tighten more to get ready for fight or flight, hence the pain gets worse. Just a theory but there are two things you can do about it: 1) do exercises to improve your posture 2) whenever you feel stress and pain get up and walk around or shake it out, or stretch very gently.

Re: Stress and P.F.

Peter A on 5/18/04 at 11:44 (150757)

Yes, I would agree: stress and exhaustion (which often go hand-in-hand) do tend to increase my PF symptoms. Today, for example, I am back to work with insufficient sleep the last two nights, after a very stressful trip to attend my son's wedding -- a 15-hour drive home yesterday being the greatest source of both exhaustion & stress. I am tired & cranky & my foot hurts more than it should. If I can catch up on sleep, experience tells me that all of this will improve by the end of the week.