I recently came across an article addressing the possible link between stress and exacerbation of MS symptoms. I thought some of you might find this to be of interest:
Stress regulation in multiple sclerosis-current issues and concepts
Mult Scler 2007; 13; 143 originally published online Jan 29, 2007
C Heesen, D C Mohr, I Huitinga, F Then Bergh, J Gaab, C Otte and S M Gold
"An increasing body of empirical evidence now supports the association between stressful life events and relapses in MS, although this literature is of varying methodological quality and does not permit causal inferences. Furthermore, a number of studies have described alterations in the major stress response systems, such as the HPA axis and
the ANS, in patients with MS. While these alterations correlate with markers of disease activity and severity, it is not clear if and how these mechanisms may mediate the stress-relapse association. Thus, at this point, any clinical conclusion regarding a strong causal relationship between stress and MS exacerbation or disease progression is premature.
Based on patients’ and physicians’ perception of the association of stressful life events and manifestation and exacerbations of MS, psychological interventions and stress management training programmes have been advocated. While a growing body of evidence supports the use of these interventions for the treatment of psychiatric conditions and improvement of quality of life , more data are needed before they can be recommended as having any disease modifying effects. There are no data that suggest that MS patients should refrain from controllable time-limited activities associated with psychological stress (eg, examinations, oral presentations) or physical activity (eg, sports), particularly if these activities are important and meaningful to the individual."
For me personally, I have found no relationship between my stress level and my symptoms. How about you?
I seem to be getting hit from all sides once again with life issues and major stressors. Like you, I don't notice any significant change in my symptoms. However, I am also pretty good at acting selfish and spoiled and allowing time for just me through exercise, swimming and massage. It took me six months post-heart attack to realize the importance of being kind to myself first if I want to function for everyone else.
All of those things reduce the levels of stress for me.
I don't think it's selfish at all to do what you are doing to stay healthy. That is a gift to those who rely on you, and are great ways to reduce unwanted stress. I like exercise and massage too, as well as pedicures and walking my dogs and baking and reading. And the occasional piece of cheesecake always makes me feel good, temporarily.
I say 'unwanted' stress because some kinds of stress are of course good: the kind that motivates one to study harder to pass an exam, or to meet a deadline at work, etc. It is the stress from events like loss of loved ones, poor health, unemployment, that can be so harmful and sometimes lead to chronic depression. It would seem there may be a corelation between stress and MS symptoms, however has yet to be proven in the opinion of the authors of the article.
Lately the stress I've had, I've brought on myself as a result of procrastination. I thnk I must be addicted to the ensuing adrenaline rush or something...
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