Those first movements of the morning. You know what I’m talking about. When you wake up and try to move for the first time of the day……. Painful? Stiff? Frustrating? Are these words you would use to describe the morning in your world? They are for me. There are mornings when I wake up and am almost in tears bc I literally can’t straightened or bend (depending on the joint) and extremity! What can we do to help this? What can we do to make our mornings a little less stressful and painful?
Tips for getting moving
1. Take a hot bath or shower.
2. Avoid nicotine, alcohol or caffeine before bed. These stimulate your brain and can make it hard to get a good restful nights sleep.
3. Try a morning self massage of the areas that are the most sore.
4. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as it causes unnecessary stress on your low back.
5. Try to avoid sleeping in cold damp areas as both these conditions can cause increased stiffness in the mornings.
6. Do light and easy stretches while laying in bed!
7. Drink lots of water! It’s just good for you, period. But it will also help you be less stiff.
8. Make sure to dress for the season as the extremes can make it harder on your body.
9. Try to get regular exercise. Even 10min a day will help!
10. Plan ahead! This one can be very helpful. This can be something as simple as making sure you have plenty of time to get up and around in the morning.
11. Take your pain medication before getting out of bed. This one will take some planning, especially if you have to be somewhere. Because you will need to give the meds 30min to an hour minimum to kick in.
12. Use your clothes dryer to your advantage. Before you need to get dressed put your clothing in the dryer on high for just a few short minutes. This will help soothe those achy joints!
In the list of things that will improve your morning-time stiffness there are a couple catch 22s. The shower, yes it will loosen everything up and make you feel better. But it may also deplete you mr energy tank for the rest of the day. Also, regular exercise. We all know it will help. But it’s another that sometimes you just think “I hurt so bad, the last thing I want to do is exercise.” Or at least I know I do. However, exercise doesn’t have to be aerobics or heavy weight lighting. It could be riding a stationary bike or walking for 10 min. I know that my Rheumatolgist suggest some kind of exercise for at least 10 min a day. Doesn’t matter what it is, just get that badly moving!!
Personally, my biggest suggestion is to make sure you have plenty of time in the morning. That way if you are more sore than the average day or if you need to jump in the shower to soothe those joints you have time. There is nothing worse than waking up late and having to push through the stiffness simply because you don’t have time to adequately deal with it.
If you feel like your stiffness in the morning is getting worse or if you notice it primarily in one joint (like a knee), please make sure to contact your doctor and let them know.
I included this little diagram of a few exercises you can do first thing in the morning to get moving.