Stress Management for Multiple Sclerosis
Is There Really an MS-Stress Connection?
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I’ll have to admit to you that I’ve never understood the underlying connection that we all seem to make between times of high stress and multiple sclerosisflares. I know that my diagnosing attack came at one of the highest stress times of my life, but I wouldn’t say that I remember any of the next six major attacks as having taken place during stressful times.
In fact, if you start to consider the autoimmune theory of MS, it begins to makelesssense to me.
Stress seems to lower immune activity (stressful time = getting sick with whatever bug is going around), so how is it that we can equate our multiple sclerosis disease activity — or at least its symptomatic expression — with times of great stress? Many of us have made mention in the pages of Life With MS Blog that a stressful lifestyle may have been a causative or at least relational factor in our contractingmultiple sclerosis.
found that incidences of high stress (in the form of both general stress at home and work as well as physical orsexual abuse in childhoodand early adolescence) — both of which are considered factors in altering the way the body processes stress) seem to have little to no prescience in forecasting whether one develops MS in her lifetime.
Yes, I wrote "her lifetime."
The aforementioned study used a combined cohort of nearly a quarter of a million women nurses over several decades. , which were published in the latest edition of the journalNeurology, counter the results of several smaller studies on stress and multiple sclerosis.
I think that all of us can agree that MS = Stress. That Stress = MS is the question that researchers in this instance seem to negate… but more research is in the works. The study’s authors hastened to mention that, "future studies with more focused and frequently measured stress assessments are needed to preclude a firm exclusion of stress as a potential risk factor for MS."
I’d not be true to myself if I didn’t plant my tongue firmly in my cheek and say that the revelation that stress doesn’t cause MS but does seem to have an effect on the course of the disease — even though it appears counterintuitive when we think of how stress typically works on the immune system — is causing me enoughstressto have a bloody exacerbation right here and now! But I digress…
Have a read of the MedPages review of the article (as the Neurology article requires a subscription to read), and let us know what you think about the whole — stressful? — idea.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
Don’t forget that you can also follow me via my and on .
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