Arthritis is a collection of different conditions that cause swelling and tenderness in one or more joints of the body. The symptoms of arthritis tend to come and go, and they vary from person to person. Almost everyone with the two most common forms of arthritis suffer from stiff joints when first waking up in the morning.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the commonest types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear damage to the joints, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking the joints and causing pain and swelling.
Several factors play a role in causing morning stiffness in arthritis. The joints usually remain stiff for about 15 minutes, but some episode may last for 1 hour or more, especially in rheumatoid arthritis. Morning stiffness may occur for the following reasons:
• Muscles and tendons tighten during sleep
• The lining of the joint releases less synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint
• The soft cartilage within the joint becomes dry and stiff
Although morning stiffness goes away on its own as you move and warm up the joints, there are some things you can do to prevent morning stiffness or reduce its effects when you wake up. The following are some tips to help prevent and control morning stiffness.
Exercising and stretching regularly can help move the joints and strengthen the muscles and tendons associated with the joints, which can help greatly in preventing morning stiffness or reduce its effects. You must see your doctor first for exercises that are safe for you.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet can contribute to reducing the swelling and tenderness associated with arthritis, which also helps reduce morning stiffness. An anti-inflammatory diet involves avoiding inflammatory foods, such as white sugar, fried foods, and processed foods; and eating more anti-inflammatory foods, such as tomatoes, leafy green vegetables like spinach, nuts, olive oil, and fruits.
Calcium and Vitamin D
We all know the importance of calcium and vitamin D for bone health, so it not surprising that increasing your intake of both can help reduce morning stiffness. Calcium and Vitamin D can be found in dairy products.
People who have rheumatoid arthritis usually have certain triggers, such as eating a certain food ingredient, and cause their symptoms to flare or worsen. These triggers vary from person to person, and you to identify your own triggers. Identifying these triggers and avoiding them can help reduce symptoms and prevent morning stiffness.
As we said before, physical activity for people with arthritis can be good, but too much strenuous activity can work the other way around, causing more pain and swelling. If you feel you are stressing your joints too much, try to take it slow to prevent worsening your symptoms.