3 Steps to Easing Morning Stiffness Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis

person's wrist is swelling from rheumatoid arthritisGetting out of bed is hard, especially for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The disease causes morning stiffness, with patients feeling as if their bodies have gone brittle. It’s unclear yet what exactly causes this, but there’s a chain of symptoms that make this happen.

According to health experts, swollen and painful joints, the hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis, worsens when you’re not moving. That pain makes you immobile and prompts the tightening of muscles around the joints. While it may seem like it’s impossible to move, there are ways to manage morning stiffness. RedRiver Health and Wellness Center cites some of them.

Take your meds

Medications reduce inflammation of the joints, so it will surely help in relieving morning stiffness. You can buy some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs over-the-counter, but it’s best to consult your doctor to see which medications are appropriate for your condition.

This is especially true if you have a history of or at risk for stomach ulcers. Leave the meds at the bedside table and take them before getting out of bed. You should have light snacks as well that’s easy to reach upon waking up.

Start slow

Don’t force any movement. Instead, stretch gently, starting with your head, moving it from side to side. Then, proceed with your fingers and wrists, then the arms and shoulders, and then elbows and knees.

Consult a physical therapist so you’ll be able to follow an exercise program that addresses your unique symptoms and alleviates anxieties and movement insecurities. An effective rheumatoid arthritis care is holistic, considering all aspects of your well-being, as well as personalized, targeting individual symptoms.

Use heat therapy

Sometimes, patients find it soothing for the joints when they feel any heat. Consider trying heat therapy. This will cause the blood to move to the skin surface, warming and loosening the joints in the process. You can, for instance, use a heated blanket, take a warm bath, or shower.

When taking a bath, consider immersing yourself for almost half an hour. Stretch the affected joints gently while inside the tub. If you choose to shower, direct the spray of the handheld shower head onto the stiff joints.

You can do something to make every morning less of a nightmare. Try the strategies mentioned here, so you won’t always be waking up with very painful joints.