Aching joints and stiffness (in particular, morning stiffness) are well-known to those who suffer from arthritis — especially to those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. However, as we age, it becomes a common problem for most people.
Many seniors feel enough stiffness and pain in the morning that it can be difficult for them to get out of bed.
However, by following a few simple rules and developing a few healthy habits, people can reduce morning stiffness.
Here are 5 ways to ease that creaky feeling at the start of the day:
1. Don’t jump out of bed
Remain in bed for several minutes after you wake up, and move your legs and arms slowly and gently. With no weight pressing on your joints, you can begin to loosen up your joints. If possible, extend this exercise to other parts of your body: for example, moving your neck and shoulders, wrists, hands, and fingers.
2. Some like it hot
Heat therapy can help alleviate the pain associated with morning stiffness. A heating pad for an especially stiff joint, or a warm bath or shower can provide enormous benefit, as well as comfort.
3. The homestretch
If you have permission from your doctor, gentle stretching — even while still in bed — can be very effective for morning stiffness.
Simply stretch the joints that hurt or are especially stiff, maintaining the stretch for approximately 20 seconds.
It is very important to guard against overstretching. In particular, if you experience pain at any time, then you are not stretching but overstretching, and you should stop immediately.
Getting guidance from a well-trained physical therapist can be very helpful in learning appropriate stretches and proper technique.
4. You are what you eat
As has been shown in numerous studies, a healthy diet has an enormous effect on virtually every aspect of health. Eating properly can reduce the inflammation that can cause joint stiffness.
5. Move it or lose it
Exercising — even for a few minutes a day — can have an enormous positive effect in relieving morning stiffness. A well-trained physical therapist can teach you exercises that will help your morning stiffness.
The main point to remember is that you can play an active role in alleviating the discomfort of morning stiffness. As you incorporate these tips, you may just find that not only does your morning stiffness go away more quickly, but that it doesn’t even reappear the next day.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.