Have you ever woken up in the morning with an aching back or feeling stiff? Do you have trouble getting out of bed or walking into the kitchen to get your breakfast? This is known as morning stiffness, and it is a pretty common complaint, though few people understand the actual cause of it. Many people make the mistake of believing that it has to do with aging, are getting old. They believe it is a normal occurrence. This is actually not the case.
The most common causes of morning stiffness are:
Lousy sleeping position
Sleeping often involves lying in slightly awkward positions held for long periods of time throughout the night. Your sleeping position can cause sustained compression, pinching, oxygen starvation of tissues and decreased blood flow to your muscles. This in turn can result in a build-up of lactic acid which causes stiffness when you wake up the next morning.
If you have a musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis, odds are this will affect how stiff you feel when you get up in the morning. Arthritis often causes swelling and inflammation of the joints first thing in the morning and it can occur in any joint in the body.
Inactive muscles and joints will most definitely be more likely to experience morning stiffness than those who exercise regularly. This is because the muscles and joints are not regularly stretching, being strengthened, or circulating that important synovial fluid to keep the joints nice and lubricated. So, partaking in an activity that usually requires 8 hours of uninterrupted stillness will put your muscles and joints through their paces and you are likely to wake feeling stiffer in the morning, which will gradually ease off throughout the day.
Our bodies repress inflammation when we sleep which can result in worse pain when we wake up in the morning as the inflammation ‘switches back on’. Research has found that exposure to constant light results in higher inflammatory markers than in the darkness, indicating that our circadian rhythms (our internal clock that tells us when to go to sleep and when to get up again) have a role to play in modulating our pain.1
As your joints get older, your cartilage (a firm connective tissue found in many areas of the body including the joints between bones) begins to stiffen and dry out. What’s more, the joint lining produces less synovial fluid which is responsible for lubricating the joint. As a result, this can cause stiffness and tightening during sleep which can make weak muscles and stiff tendons feel worse.
Overcoming Morning Stiffness
There are many ways in which you can adjust your lifestyle in order to combat morning stiffness. Try some or all of the following:
Be sure that not only do you get enough deep sleep to repair and recharge your body but that you also have the correct mattress for your body type.Make sure you do not get too cold as sensitive joints become stiff when it is cold .Do some easy stretches in the morning before getting out of bed.Stay hydrated.Try healthy joint diet by cutting down on carbohydrate intake and toxins such as aspartame, unnatural dyes, and preservatives.Lower your stress levels. You may try meditating or spending just a few minutes to yourself a day to do something you love.Get regular exercise but not so much that you hurt your joints.
If you are experiencing joint pain in the morning and would like to discuss your options for treatment, contact B2LCARE for information about us.