Stiffness is a fairly common problem, especially in the elderly, but not so that we can be subjective. The causes of this condition are quite diverse, so it is necessary to determine to know the correct and earliest remedy.
Joints, muscles, and bones over the years of activity accumulate damage. Many people experience stiffness after waking up. Lying down to sleep for many hours reduces the body’s fluid levels. That can make it harder to move the joint in the morning.
Stiffness can be mild and only affect your mobility for a short period of time each morning or after sitting for long periods of time. Stiffness can also be more severe and affect your mobility.
In some cases, pain and inflammation accompany stiffness. This can cause pain when walking, standing, or performing activities that put weight on the joint.
Causes of joint stiffness
Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, bursitis, gout, and bone cancer are 6 common causes of stiffness.
Not all stiff joints are the result of age. Many other conditions can cause stiffness, including arthritis, lupus, and bursitis. Lifestyle factors, including diet and weight, can also affect joint mobility.
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
The most common cause of joint pain is rheumatoid arthritis, or rheumatism. It is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting more than 1.5 million people (in the United States). Its symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 and 60.
This is a chronic inflammatory disorder and also an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system attacks healthy parts of your body, such as the lining of your joints. This causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Over time, the disease can also cause joint deformity and bone erosion.
There is no cure for rheumatism, so it is not possible to completely eliminate the symptoms. Medications and other treatments can control symptoms. However, once the disease is advanced, it is very difficult to prevent disability.
Another common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative arthritis. It affects nearly 27 million Americans, most commonly in people over the age of 65.
This is a type of arthritis caused by worn-out joints. Cartilage, the thin tissue that protects the bones in your joints, wears away with use. Over time, cartilage can no longer protect your bones.
Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but the joints most commonly affected are:
As arthritis progresses, it can begin to cause symptoms other than stiffness, including pain, swelling, and a clicking sound when the joint is in motion.
As the condition worsens, the bones are more likely to break and you can break a bone with vigorous exercise. In the advanced stages of arthritis, the cartilage layer disappears, causing bone to rub against other bone. This can cause pain, stiffness and disability.
Treatment for arthritis may include replacing some of the cartilage and fluid lost in the joints. Treatments that favor lifestyle changes to reduce weight and stress on joints may also be effective. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be needed.
Finger arthritis greatly affects daily activities, making it difficult for you to move, even opening a cork is difficult.
Lupus is also an autoimmune disease like rheumatism, when the body attacks its own organs and tissues, causing stiffness, pain, and swelling. Lupus is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble many other diseases. It can take several months to diagnose lupus with tests that rule out other conditions.
This is also a chronic disease. Once it develops, you will likely experience symptoms of the condition for life. There is no cure for this disease, only treatment to reduce and control the symptoms.
>>> See more: 19 foods to help you beat Systemic Lupus
Bursitis are small sacs filled with fluid that cushion the bones, ligaments, and muscles in your joints. These inflamed pockets of fluid can cause stiffness and pain in the affected joint.
Bursitis can affect any joint, but it is most common in large joints such as:
• Fish’s eyes
• The big toe
The disease is usually temporary and treatment relies on letting the affected joint rest for a few weeks. This means you need to reduce your physical activity and keep your joint stable for a while to allow the synovial sac to recover.
Unlike some other possible causes of stiffness, gout comes on suddenly. It can appear while you sleep, which can cause painful joints when you wake up.
The disease is characterized by severe and sudden pain in the joints. The disease can affect any joint, but the big toe is often the first joint to experience symptoms.
Gout affects men more than women, but women’s risk of gout increases after menopause. Most people will deal with episodes of symptoms for the rest of their lives, but symptoms are treatable.
The big toe is often the first joint to experience painful symptoms in gout
6. Bone cancer
This cause is quite rare, but also a possibility. People with bone cancer may experience joint pain, bone pain, swelling, or sensitivity near the bone.
Not everyone experiences pain, which is why bone cancer can progress and start causing other symptoms before it’s detected.
Cancer is treatable, but the outcome depends on a number of factors. These factors include the size, location, and type of the tumor. Treatment options for bone cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
How to recover?
The best way to relieve stiffness will depend on the cause. If stiffness persists for more than 30 minutes after you wake up, or if symptoms get worse, it’s important to see a doctor.
Diagnosing the underlying problem will help you and your doctor determine the best way to ease stiffness and prevent other related symptoms. However, the following ways can overcome stiffness.
1. Apply hot or cold
Both temperature extremes can be beneficial for stiff joints.
Apply a cold pack or ice pack to your stiff joint for 15-20 minutes several times a day. This can help reduce inflammation or swelling and ease joint mobility. It can also reduce pain receptors so you can relieve pain.
Heat also has a healing effect on joints and muscles. Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm water from the shower or bath to relax muscles and increase circulation.
2. Over-the-counter drugs
Many symptoms of mild joint pain can be relieved with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the most commonly used drugs for arthritis. Types of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
If inflammation and swelling in a joint is causing stiffness, steroids may be a treatment option. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation. As the inflammation decreases, joint pain and stiffness also decrease.
Steroids may not be beneficial for people with advanced arthritis. In some cases, pain relief may be temporary and subsequent steroid injections may not be effective.
Physical activity has many benefits, including preventing stiffness
Exercise can help increase joint mobility and reduce stiffness. This is also a great way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of certain diseases that cause joint pain and stiffness.
If you’re not sure how to exercise or have difficulty moving, talk to your doctor or a trained physical therapist. Exercise is an easy way to relieve pain and stiffness, but you can make the problem worse if you don’t take precautions before starting your exercise plan. When exercising, you should limit joint locking to reduce pressure on joints, especially knee joints.
5. Applying therapeutic muscle tension
Therapeutic muscle tension is one of the active treatment methods for diseases of muscles – bones – joints
When you experience osteoarthritis pain, the muscle groups around the painful area will contract. Gentle massage movements will help each muscle group relax, soothe pain.
Muscle groups that are prone to tension are usually neck – shoulder muscles, back muscles, glutes – thighs. Keeping muscles and joints is related in movement, so treating bone and joint diseases will inevitably treat muscle strain.
You can learn self-tightening exercises, stretching muscles at home. However, to be safe, you should find a therapist with good expertise, because musculoskeletal treatment is a rather long journey and requires precision.
Stretch therapists from easyhealthylive.com can advise and help you assess the situation of musculoskeletal injuries, thereby providing appropriate treatment. You will have a home visit and your first treatment session free of charge.
Natural supplements for joint pain relief
The following three natural treatments may also hold promise for joint pain relief.
1. Fish oil
The typical dosage for a fish oil supplement is 300mg per day
A 2012 study found that people who took fish oil reported less pain and morning joint pain.
Fish oil contains the unsaturated fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Adding fish dishes to your weekly meal has many other benefits, too, because they contain omega-3 fatty acids.
The typical dosage for a fish oil supplement is 300mg per day. You should read the bottle label to determine how many milligrams of omega-3 are in each capsule.
Talk to your doctor before you start taking fish oil supplements. Supplements can also interact with other medications.
Flaxseed contains another type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Like EPA and DHA, ALA may help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of stiffness.
Flaxseed has some ALA, but flaxseed oil has more. Flaxseed oil products come in two forms: capsules or in bottles. The average daily recommendation is 500mg. That amount is usually in a flaxseed capsule or 28g of flaxseed.
Flaxseeds are ground to release healthy fats. Your body can break down and process whole flaxseeds, so you’ll be getting healthy fats.
3. Glucosamine sulfate
This chemical exists naturally in the fluid around your joints. It plays a role in the creation of cartilage. If you have a glucosamine sulfate deficiency, your body may not be able to produce or protect cartilage.
Several studies support the use of this supplement for joint pain and stiffness. This substance may be most helpful for people with knee osteoarthritis and swelling. The recommended dose for joint pain is between 300 – 2,000mg per day.
Before use, consult your doctor about drug interactions.
When should you see a doctor?
When you have constant joint pain that doesn’t go away after about a week, you need to go to the hospital for an examination
If you experience sudden stiffness and pain, see your doctor. Likewise, if the stiffness and pain do not go away after a period of 5-7 days, you should see a doctor.
You should also seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• So hurt
• Rapid swelling
• Joint deformity
• Inability to move the joint
• Intense red and hot to the touch
Although stiffness is quite common, it can be the first sign of another condition. A physical exam is an easy way to determine the cause of the problem.
If inconclusive, your doctor may recommend some treatments to help ease the stiffness while you wait and see if it goes away. If the stiffness doesn’t go away, you may need testing to get a diagnosis.
Once your doctor determines the cause, they can recommend the best treatment plan for you. This can help ease symptoms and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Hopefully, this article has given you an overview and comprehensive view of joint stiffness, so that you know how to deal with it as soon as you start seeing the first signs.
If you have musculoskeletal problems, come to easyhealthylive.com’s Stretching Therapy service, we will give you a completely free F1 training session. You just need to download easyhealthylive.com to your device, create an account. Our Customer Care Department will contact you to advise you further. Try this service, for your own health, do not hesitate any longer.
Stiff Joints: Why It Happens and How to Find Relief https://www.healthline.com/health/stiff-joints Accessed: 5/6/2020
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.