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Open Badges Editorial

The role of stress in rheumatic diseases

Afton L Hassett* and Daniel J Clauw

Author Affiliations

Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, 24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, PO Box 385, Lobby M, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:123  doi:10.1186/ar3024

See related research article by de Brouwer et al.,

Published: 7 June 2010


Rheumatology patients frequently note the occurrence of stressful or traumatic life events prior to the onset of their illness and/or a relationship between stress and disease flares. For our patients, identifying causal events could represent an effort to give meaning to a chronic and often disabling disease, while noting a link between stress and flares may proffer a sense of control. Whatever purpose the report of stress as an etiological or maintaining factor may serve, the science exploring a causal relationship between stress and autoimmune disease onset and course is expanding. Moreover, stress can also induce symptoms such as pain via nonimmunological mechanisms.