Your essential Arthritis morning routine
Your essential Arthritis morning routine.Mornings can be tough when you have arthritis – joint stiffness and soreness always seem to greet you right when you wake up.
Mornings can be tough when you have arthritis – joint stiffness and soreness always seem to greet you right when you wake up. The good news is that you can adjust your morning routine to minimize these symptoms. There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, causes morning stiffness that can last for about 30 minutes or less, says Julie Herrington, a registered physiotherapist with the Arthritis Rehabilitation and Education Program of The Arthritis Society.
Range of motion exercises — done right in bed, before you get up — are the most important and helpful tools you have in the fight against morning stiffness, says Herrington. Focus on whatever joint is stiff and move it in the ways it's supposed to move naturally. “So if it’s your knee, then it’s really simple,” says Herrington, “you just bend it as much as you can and straighten it as much as you can until you can get yourself out of bed.” For people with osteoarthritis, that can mean as little as five to 10 minutes of movement exercise for the joint that's affected.
Arthritis pain and stiffness originate in the joints, but stretching the surrounding muscles and tendons can also help you find relief. You don’t have to overhaul your mornings or spend ages doing them — sometimes the smallest changes are the best at reducing discomfort. Add some simple stretches to your morning routine after you’ve finished your range-of-motion exercises. For example, if you have arthritis in your knee, hip or lower back, says Herrington, your hamstring muscles might be tight. To loosen them up, lie on your back in bed and lift one leg up into the air.Keeping it as straight as you can, gently pull the leg toward your body, then relax and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. This helps lengthen those tight hamstrings and ease tension. Speak to a physiotherapist for help with stretches that target your problem areas.