Studies suggest that morning stiffness that lasts up to an hour is a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Morning stiffness associated with arthritis can be both mentally and physically disturbing. The pain can interfere with your day by first making it difficult for you to get out of bed and also having a hard time carrying out the daily activities. The American College of Rheumatology reported that morning stiffness affects more than six million Americans. It’s projected that by 2030, 67 million Americans will have been diagnosed with arthritis.
What Causes Morning Stiffness
The main causes of morning stiffness are overweight, lack of physical activities, poor diet, lack of proper sleep and long exposure to a cold or damp environment. Physical exercise helps keep the blood flowing and clears toxins in the body. Additionally, overweight people tend to put a strain on their muscle, tendons, and ligaments which can cause harm to the joints. A diet with simple carbs causes weak muscle, bad posture, and lethargy.
Overcoming Morning Stiffness
The good news is that all causes of morning stiffness can be avoided or corrected. Here is a list of what you should do to overcome morning stiffness.
Have Simple Exercises in Bed
Just before you get out of the bed, try and lie on your back and stretch your upper body first moving your joints slowly. This helps warm up your sleepy muscles and loosen the joint thus relieving you the pain. Also, you should loosen your neck by turning your head from side to side slowly. Afterward, focus on stretching the following joints one side at a time followed by the other side: your hands, elbows, shoulders, wrist, toes, knees, ankles and hips. By the time you’re done stretching all the above parts, your joints should be feeling less stiff and less painful. Now, you’re ready to start your day.
Have a Balanced Diet
There are certain foods that have been suggested to ease muscle pain while others increase the pain. For example, sugar and foods containing saturated fats can cause morning stiffness since they are highly inflammatory. A good diet contributes to the health of your muscles and joints. Someone suffering from morning stiffness should cut down on such food to help improve their symptoms. Choose a diet that is anti-inflammatory such as omega 3, soybeans and any other tasty food. Additionally, increase your fruits and vegetable intake as they contain multiple nutrients.
Take a Warm Shower
Immediately you wake up, have a warm shower because heat helps reduce the discomfort of morning stiffness by making the blood flow. In addition to that, a warm shower will flush and warm your joint. Let your body soak in the tub for 10 to 20 minutes. Apart from that, use a warm cloth, heating pads, or hot packs to massage your joints. Whichever method you choose to use, don’t exceed 20 minutes. Then, allow your skin to return to room temperature before applying any type of medicine.
Keep Moving the Whole Day
Inactivity could be contributing to your morning stiffness because your muscles don’t get the opportunity to stretch or strengthen. Staying in motion allows synovial fluid to circulate hence keeping the joints lubricated. In case you have a desk job, driving job or you have mobility issues that prevent you from getting up and walking around, then you should think of a way to overcome that. If possible, try to take a walk during your tea and lunch break. If this isn’t possible, you should arrange for some activity during your free time or meet up with your friends for a nature walk in the evening. Alternatively, you should choose to walk to a local shop instead of driving.
This involves taking your anti-inflammatory medications hours before getting out of the bed in the morning. Set an alarm an hour before the usual wake up time and keep a snack by your bedside to avoid taking medication on an empty stomach. When the alarm goes off in the morning, don’t get out of the bed. Instead, swallow the medicine with plenty of water and eat your snack to prevent stomach upset. Then, continue resting until the normal wake up time.
Change The Sleeping Position
Some sleeping positions can restrict blood flow around the body resulting in stiffness not only in the morning but also throughout the night. Improper blood circulation can cause lactic acid to build up which leads to stiffness. You should find a comfortable way to sleep that doesn’t cause harm to your body.
Doing physical activities keep your muscle strong enough to support your joints. Further, it helps you sleep better, maintain a healthy weight and improve your mood. There are other causes of morning stiffness that even doctors are yet to understand. What’s important is to plan and strategies properly to help effectively manage this condition.
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