Morning joint stiffness is first experienced when you get up in the morning. It is one of the initial signs of arthritis. Mainly joint stiffness results due to inflammation in the joints. Joint stiffness lasts only for few hours but makes your daily activities difficult.
What is morning joint stiffness ?
Every morning do you face problems getting up from the bed? Not because you don’t want to leave your cozy and warm bed but you are experiencing pain and stiffness in your joints. If your answer is YES then you might be suffering from Morning Joint Stiffness. There are chances that you might consider morning joint stiffness as a sign of aging and not as a preliminary symptom of arthritis.
Effects of Joint Stiffness
Morning joint stiffness can be described as stiffness and inflexibility experienced by the joints in the morning. It is not necessary that joint stiffness should occur in the morning, it can even occur during afternoon or evening. Generally it is seen that joint inflexibility lasts for 30 minutes but it might continue for hours also. Morning joint stiffness affects your day-to-day activities a lot, making it tough even to stand, bend, sit or rest. It’s been observed that joint stiffness not only obstructs your movement it also leads to body pain and aches.
Body Parts Affected By Morning Joint Stiffness
Morning stiffness also affects joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Stiffness could be experienced by any connective tissue of the body. Generally it is seen that joints of legs, knees, feet, hands, arms and wrists are highly susceptible to morning stiffness. But in a few cases even the back becomes prone to stiffness, especially the cervical spine, lumbar and thoracic regions.
Symptoms of Morning Joint Stiffness
There are number of signs and symptoms related to morning joint stiffness. Few of the symptoms are listed below.
- Rigidity or stiffness in the joints during morning
- Inflexibility in feet, legs, arms, finger and toe joints
- Pain or ache in legs, feet, arms and hands
- Headaches especially starting at the bottom of the neck ending in the head
- Rigidity or stiffness in the neck, head and back
- Restricted motion
- Difficulty to extend affected joints completely
- Recurrence of stiffness either in the evening or night
In case you observe any of the above symptoms, consult your doctor immediately to get the proper treatment.
Causes of Morning Joint Stiffness
The exact cause for morning joint stiffness is still unknown. It is considered that as you grow old, the tendons and ligaments of joints become overstretched and are prone to wear and tear. The lubricating membrane of the joints also contracts and dries up hence making your joint movement restricted. Other possible causes for morning joint stiffness are
- Inflammation in the synovium of the joint
- Overuse of the muscles
- Inappropriate limb movement leading to stress
- Accumulation of fluid in the joint
- Insufficient exercise
Factors that Aggravate Morning Joint Stiffness
It has been observed that there are certain factors which worsen the symptoms of morning joint stiffness. A few of the aggravating factors are listed below.
- Humid and cold weather
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Stress and anxiety
Treatment for Morning Joint Stiffness:
Cold and heat application are two of the most effective treatments for morning joint stiffness. Cold and heat treatment are highly beneficial in lessening the joint stiffness and pain. Cold reduces the swelling and relaxes the excited nerves whereas heat enhances the blood circulation. To relieve yourself from joint stiffness it is advisable for you to use hot packs every morning. For best results try to alternate cold and heat after every 5 minutes. It is even advisable to exercise daily, do at least warm-up exercises before you start your daily activities.