Morning stiffness is a common symptom for many joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA), and ankylosing spondylitis. However, a person with RA can experience morning stiffness for about an hour, which is usually caused by inflammation. A surge of inflammatory cells typically occurs during nighttime and that leads to the stiff and painful joints you have when you wake up.
To ease morning stiffness, some people take certain over-the-counter medications such as naproxen and ibuprofen. Doctors may also prescribe these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in stronger doses for individuals diagnosed with RA. But apart from medications, there are things you can do to ease your morning stiffness. Find out what they are below.
1. Try some bed exercises
One of the easiest ways to ease your morning stiffness is by doing some exercises while you’re still in bed. Opt for range-of-motion routines and just gently stretch your body. Doing these will loosen up the creaky joints and sleepy muscles. Start by stretching your upper body joints like in your wrists, elbows, hands, shoulders, and neck. Then, exercise your lower body parts such as hips, knees, ankles, and toes.
Gently move and stretch out every joint then get up when they’re less stiff. Some of the exercises you can do in bed include marching hip raises, leg lift with a knee in, jack splits, and scissor legs.
2. Get a good massage
Massage is widely known as a healthy method for relieving pain and stiffness from different joint conditions, especially arthritis. You can invest in good-quality body massage equipment to relieve joint pain or stiffness in your upper or lower body. There are full-body massagers and there are handheld ones, which makes it easier to target pressure points.
Overall, massage offers many amazing therapeutic benefits. It can help reduce inflammation by enhancing circulation or blood flow. But besides pain relief, this practice can also help you become more flexible and active. If you’re experiencing intense pain in the morning, avoid massaging your body without relevant knowledge or skills. One wrong move and you can worsen your condition. Consult a massage therapist for proper advice.
3. Take a warm shower
There’s nothing more soothing than starting your day with a warm shower or bath. You can relieve your morning stiffness by soaking in a tub of warm water or enjoying the steam from a hot shower. Such water therapy can ease pressure from your joints, enabling you to better stretch out in the morning. Also, heat causes your blood to move to your skin’s surface and flush the joints along the way.
This is even more beneficial during colder days wherein the pain from morning stiffness is more intense. If you’re showering, directly spray the stiff joints to massage them using a handheld showerhead. If soaking in a warm tub is your choice, stay in for around ten to 20 minutes.
4. Keep it slow and steady
In some cases, stiff joints need a few hours to get back into work. If you’re having frequent morning stiffness, try not scheduling any extra activities for the morning. Give yourself some free time to lie back for a few minutes and slowly make your way to prepare or eat breakfast. Rushing everything will just make you more likely to drop things or even fall.
In a ddition, your stiffness could get worse the next day. If you need to go to work, try to get up at least two hours so you can have time to do things slow and steady. By giving yourself time to thaw out, you can help yourself be more active and mobile for the rest of the day.
5. Enjoy a healthy breakfast
Your immune system can go against you when your body works too much. This is a typical scenario for those who have joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. For such reason, these individuals tend to have a hard time moving through the morning and have lower energy levels too. To help your body ease the pain and stiffness, start your morning with a healthy breakfast. It should contain energy-boosting ingredients and healthy and natural antioxidants. Among the best options are eggs, yogurt, smoothies, fruit salads, and whole grains.
While these recommendations are generally safe, we still suggest that you seek your primary physician’s advice. This way, you can further ensure that you won’t do something that could worsen your joint condition. Nonetheless, keep a watchful eye on morning stiffness and learn how to manage it to avoid major disruptions in your daily activities.