Why are my joints so stiff in the morning?

Here’s an interesting question we received recently from David, who is one of our patients.

Q: My back and knees are always really stiff when I wake up in the morning? Is there anything I can do about it?

This is a common complaint that we hear, especially from older patients. Most people accept that this is just part of getting older, but old age does not necessarily cause joint stiffness on its own. Very often, this stiffness may be due to muscle tightness, worn joints and/or inflammation due to arthritis.

Here is what happens.

  • As your joints get older, the cartilage, which acts as a spongy cushion between your joints, begins to dry out and stiffen.
  • The lining of the joints will also have less synovial fluid, which helps to lubricate the joint.
  • When sleeping, muscles that are weak tend to tighten, which will cause stiffness in the morning.

You cannot reverse the effects of aging joints but you can help prevent them from getting worse. Most people find that the stiffness will ease as they warm up the joints and muscles in the morning. Our osteopaths provide a tailored exercise plan for our patients to follow each morning, which will help alleviate this stiffness, increase muscle strength and boost flexibility. We also give lifestyle tips and recommend that people try and stay as active as possible during the day. Maintaining a healthy weight will also help make a big difference as there will be less pressure on the joints.

We hope you found this information helpful and educational.

If you’d like to find out more or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and one of our osteopaths will be happy to chat with you.

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