Moving with Morning Joint Stiffness

You wake from a restful night’s sleep only to find that your joints are stiff. Here are things you can do that might help ease your morning aches.

Ah, mornings … they used to be your time of solace. Waking up from a good night’s rest, ready to tackle an exciting day. Those were the days…

Now, if it’s not your joints bothering you, then it’s your back, or your neck… or your, well… everything seems to hurt at one point or another these days.

Take comfort, because you’re not alone. At one point or another, we all wake up with that all-too-familiar feeling of an aching, sore body.  There are a number of reasons this happens, from chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia, to the age of your bed or pillow, and even your biological clock.1,2

If it’s your biological (circadian) clock that’s suppressing your ability to release proteins while you sleep, there’s not much available today to help.

Here are a couple things you can do today to help get you up and moving in the morning:

  • Turn up the temperature in your house. Sleeping in a warmer environment may help relieve sore joints in the morning. If you’re more of a “cold-temperature sleeper” try a warm shower first thing in the morning to loosen those joints.1
  • Take time for a nice, slow stretch first thing in the morning and work your joints through their range of motion.4 Always ask your doctor what stretching movements are appropriate for your condition.
  • Have you replaced your bed and/or pillow lately? Manufacturers suggest replacing your mattress every 7 to 8 years and your pillow every 18 months to 3 years.3 Understandably, some of these last longer than others, as more expensive mattresses and pillows tend to wear out slower. Remember that your comfort needs change over time as well. What worked for you 5 years ago may not sufficiently cater to your needs today.3

Keep track of how long your morning joint stiffness lasts and discuss with your doctor the next time you see them. Your doctor will be able to discuss different treatment options depending on your personal needs. 

Managing Arthritis: Frequently Asked Questions

It can be hard to know where to start when diagnosed with a disease like arthritis. Click here for a free copy of frequently asked questions about managing arthritis.

References
  1. Boyles, M. (2018, September 14). "Why we Wake up Stiff and Achy." The Old Farmer’s Almanac. https://www.almanac.com/blog/home-health/natural-living/why-we-wake-stiff-and-achy
  2. Telegraph Reporters (2016, August 7). "Why do we wake up stiff in the mornings? Scientists discover the answer." The Telegraph. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/07/why-do-we-wake-up-stiff-in-the-mornings-scientists-discover-the/
  3. Breus, MJ (2017, September 7). “Why you wake sore, stiff, and unrested.” Sleep Doctor. www.thesleepdoctor.com/2017/09/07/why-you-wake-sore-stiff-and-unrested/
  4. Vandever, L. (2016, November 17). "Rheumatoid Arthritis: How to Manage Morning Stiffness." Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis-morning-stiffness#3
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