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Reducing stress


Stress is a normal part of life. In small amounts, stress is good. It can motivate you and help you get more done. But, too much stress can be harmful.

Stress is not the cause of your knee pain. But, feeling stressed may make it harder for you to manage your pain.

Learn what is causing your stress

Many types of things can cause stress. What is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Some sources of your stress may be:

  • Not being able to do activities because of your knee pain
  • Other medical problems you may have
  • Changes or problems at work or at home
  • Having a very busy schedule
  • Spending too much time alone

A first step in reducing stress is to figure out what makes you feel stressed. Ask yourself:

  • What do you worry about most?
  • Do you always have something on your mind?
  • Is something in your life making you sad or depressed?

Keep a diary of the experiences and thoughts that seem to be related to your stress. Are your thoughts adding to your stress in these situations?

Find some help for your stress

Reach out to other people. Find someone you trust (such as a friend, family member, neighbor, or clergy member) who will listen to you. Often, just talking to a friend or loved one is all you need to relieve your stress.

Most communities also have support groups and telephone hotlines that can help. You can also seek help from a social worker, psychologist, or another type of mental health professional. Therapy and medicine might help you manage your stress.

Talk with your health care provider if you have been feeling sad or depressed a lot of the time.

Make some changes in your life

Find healthy ways to cope with stress. For example:

  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. DO NOT overeat.
  • Get enough sleep. Good sleep habits are one of the best ways to manage stress.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol.
  • Make time for your personal interests and hobbies.

Try using relaxation techniques. Some you can try are guided imagery, listening to music, doing yoga, or meditating. With some practice, these techniques could help you reduce your stress.

Listen to your body when it tells you to slow down or take a break. Our bodies know what we need, but we often do not pay attention to what they tell us.

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Review Date: 8/9/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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