Joint stiffness can occur for many reasons. For the majority of people, stiff joints are a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. In the United States, an estimated 1.3 million adults deal with the problem. Caused by an abnormal immune response, this condition causes the soft tissue that surrounds the joints to become inflamed.
What are Stiff Joints?
In most cases, stiff joints are a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Although it initially affects tissue and joints, it can cause problems for the organs and other body parts. Stiff joints can occur with or without pain. It may become difficult to move a joint properly or the range of mobility may become limited.
In cases of rheumatoid arthritis, individuals may also experience fatigue. The symptoms are often worse in the morning and may take a few hours to improve. In serious cases, the stiffness may remain for the entire day.
What Causes Stiff Joints?
When the body is functioning normally, the immune system only responds when there is an invading organism, pathogen or allergen within the body. This response may become abnormal over time. If this occurs, the body will increase its immune response.
This leads to inflammation, stiff joints and increased pain. Normally, the condition affects joints within the fingers and hands. It may also cause stiffness in the feet, wrists, ankles, elbows and knees. Rarely, it will affect the jaw, shoulders and hips.
In the initial stages, the joint will become inflamed. Patients may experience severe stiffness in the morning that makes it difficult to move properly. They may also suffer from pain, warmth, water retention or swelling. In the second stage of the disease, cells begin to rapidly divide and grow.
This causes the synovium to become thicker. By the time it reaches the third stage, the inflammation has spread drastically. The inflamed cells begin to release enzymes. These enzymes may digest cartilage tissue and bone mass. For the sufferer, this may cause additional pain and decreased movement. It can make the joint lose shape and become misaligned.
What are The Symptoms of Joint Stiffness?
Initially, individuals may experience stiffness and pain in the affected areas. They may experience water retention and swelling.
In some cases, they may also develop redness or skin changes. The affected joint may develop a weird shape or become disjointed. In addition, the individual will most likely deal with a loss of mobility.
Before visiting a doctor, it is important to track all of the symptoms. This chart will help the doctor figure out what type of arthritis is involved. Individuals should track when the symptoms occur and if they reoccur frequently.
Risk factors for this medical condition vary greatly between each person. The earliest risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include stiffness and pain in the joints. Individuals in the early stages of the problem will often experience swelling on a daily basis. A family history of the condition may also increase someone’s chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
How are Stiff Joints Related to Water Retention?
When the immune system is activated, histamine and other chemicals are released. These chemicals are intended to cause the affected area to become flooded with fluid and antibodies to stop any illness. If this immune response is caused by an allergen or a malfunctioning immune system, it can lead to long term inflammation and swelling.
This swelling is due to the buildup of fluids within the tissue. In effect, the same condition that causes stiff joints also causes water retention. Although there are some treatment methods available, many individuals will be able to find relief with natural supplements or therapies.
What is The Natural Approach to Treating Joint Stiffness?
Weight control has been shown to ease problems with joint stress and stiffness. To start losing weight, exercises like water aerobics are great options because the water relieves any pressure on the joints. Through exercise, individuals can increase their range of motion.
Other methods of naturally protecting the joints include receiving adequate rest and physical activity. The affected joint should be moved through its entire range of motion at least once every day. To help deal with the problem naturally, some individuals may use relaxation techniques to reduce tension and stiffness.
How Can Stiff Joints be Treated?
Doctors may prescribe medication to prevent the condition from worsening. These medications can also reduce any inflammation and prevent further damage. Some of the common medications for this condition include analgesics, glucocorticoids, DMARDs, NSAIDS and biologic response modifiers.
Doctors may also recommend some type of physical therapy. A physical therapist can use exercise to increase mobility and flexibility. Hot packs or spas can remove some of the pain by heating up the joint.
Treating joint stiffness early can help reduce the amount of damage and pain caused to the joint. There are many natural treatment options that can reduce inflammation and water retention in the affected area.
How to Get Relief From Early Morning Joint Stiffness?
Joint stiffness is commonly a symptom of diseases such as arthritis. Morning stiffness usually occurs when you try to get out of the bed. The stiffness can sometimes be severe enough to an extent of interfering with your ability of performing daily tasks.
Being able to note joint stiffness and seeking early treatment can help you feel better, slow the progression of disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and also reduce joint damage. This will also help you live a more active and productive life.
Joint stiffness can sometimes occur without pain. In order for a physician to be able to make a diagnosis he/she will need to know if you experience other signs and symptoms.
Joint stiffness which is as a result of rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the knees, wrists, feet, elbow, finger and hand joints and ankles. Sometimes the hip, shoulder and jaws may be affected.
Morning joint stiffness that does not last for more than an hour is more likely to be caused by osteoarthritis and other non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions.
There are several theories which explain the cause of morning stiffness. One of the theories is the gel phenomenon. Gel phenomenon theory says that joint stiffness develops after a long period of sitting and being inactive. Some researchers believe that insufficient cortisol that is released on the body at night can result to joint stiffness.
Joint stiffness can last for more than two weeks and can also result to muscle aches and pain. Doctors usually diagnose joint stiffness by checking the active range of motion if there is any swelling, tenderness and enlargement.
Joint stiffness can be treated by medication and several types of therapies. Medicine helps in relieving the pain and the stiffness. Examples of the medicine include disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), glucocorticoids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs), analgesics and biologic response modifiers. Prednisone tablets also help in managing morning stiffness. The tablets are prescribed to be taken at 10 pm and usually deliver doses of prednisone to the body after 4 hours helping in suppressing IL.6.
Either way, you can also use a joint pain supplement such as Omega XL to get relief from joint pain and stiffness.
Therapies can also be helpful in improving your mobility, reducing pain and increasing your flexibility and strength. You can also get relieved from pain and joint stiffness by delivering heat through hot packs, electric meters, spas, and ultrasound.
One of the therapies is called hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy involves relaxing and exercising in warm water. Cold water can also be helpful in treating acutely inflamed joints.
Relaxation techniques can help in relaxing muscle tension, relieving pain and stiffness. You can also do your work using your body so that you can reduce stress on the joints. This can be done by using the strongest joints in the body. A physical therapist or occupational therapist can teach you how to achieve these techniques.
Self care is helpful in relieving the joint stiffness. Self care includes weight control and exercises. Weight control helps in reducing stress on joints while exercises strengthen your muscles and joints. One of good exercises is water aerobics. Water aerobics helps in improving your range of motion without putting a lot of stress on the joints.
You can also ensure you are involved in activities at least for some time in a day. You can take a walk in the park or jog for around 30 minutes every day.
The following are other tips that can be helpful in managing morning joint stiffness:
- Ensure that your bedroom environment is warm. You can do this by ensuring a comfortable temperature on the thermostat. You can also use heating pads, topical joint pain relief cream and electronic blankets for extra warmth. Dig out Euca-Leaf Review, as this pain relief spray might treat acute pain and heals stiff joints.
- Take a hot shower when you get up in the morning. You can do this by just standing under the hot shower and relax for some time.
- Do a few exercises. You should do the exercises when your muscles loosen up.
- Ensure you sleep in a position that supports your joints.
- You should do some stretching before you get out of bed. This helps you to limber up.
- You should avoid things that can put you to tension.
- Delay your activities until late in the day.
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Morning joint stiffness can lead to inability to do your daily chores and can also affect the quality of life therefore you should ensure you get involved in activities that can help you reduce morning stiffness.