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Life in Motion

Tips to Ease Early Morning Joint Pain

Joint Health

Many people with arthritis find that their symptoms of joint stiffness, pain, and restriction in motion are worst when first waking up in the morning. Gerald Miley, MD, a rheumatologist at NEBH, explains that this is especially true for those whose arthritis is due to inflammation, such as in rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment of this inflammation with medication often results in significant improvement in both symptoms and in the function of the joint, and is essential to reducing the risk for permanent joint damage. Whether your arthritis is due to normal wear and tear or inflammation, along with working with your physician, there are a few things you can do when you first wake up that may ease some of your pain.

  • Start your day with a warm shower. The warm water can help to ease some of your stiffness.
  • After your shower, try a bit of light stretching, which can help to loosen tight joints.
  • To make things easier on painful hands, consider adaptive devices like wide-gripped utensils to help you prepare and eat breakfast.
  • Ease into your day. Try to avoid scheduling several activities first thing in the morning. Breaking up your day can help to ensure you get everything on your list done.
  • Get ahead of things by preparing things like lunches the night before.

Although morning stiffness may be caused by a number of things like excessive exercise and many different types of arthritis, women especially should seek professional evaluation if the stiffness lasts more than ½ hour each day, if it persists for over 6 weeks and if they are between the ages of 30 to 50. One out of fifteen women in the United States may develop rheumatoid arthritis  over their lifetime and these are characteristics of that illness.

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