Thursday, May 23, 2024

How To Relieve Stiffness From Arthritis

Lifestyle Adjustments Can Help Manage Symptoms

Relief for Arthritis Pain and Stiffness

Tips for a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Prioritizing getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night
  • Eating a healthy diet and managing a healthy weight
  • Staying adequately hydrated
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and learning how to cope with and manage stress
  • Exercising and staying active

Can Osteoarthritis Be Prevented Or Avoided

Theres not much you can do to avoid getting osteoarthritis as you age. However, the following may help:

  • Try to not overuse your joints.
  • Try to avoid jobs or activities that require repetitive movement.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Do strength-training exercises to keep the muscles around your joints strong. This is especially important for weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, and ankles.

Relieving Stiffness With Temperature

  • 1Apply warmth to stiff joints. Heat provides a quick, easy way to reduce the discomfort of morning stiffness. To relax your muscles and increase circulation to stiff joints, use hot packs, heating pads, or a hot shower to target affected areas.XTrustworthy SourceArthritis FoundationMain organization devoted to arthritis support and educationGo to source
  • When using a hot pack or heating pad, wrap the device in a thin, dry towel. Do not exceed 20 minutes of application.
  • Take as hot of a shower as is comfortable for you. Hot tub or whirlpool use can be especially therapeutic to relieve stiffness first thing in the morning.
  • Allow your skin to return to room temp before applying any topical medication.
  • 2Try cold packs too. Believe it or not, you can also relieve morning stiffness by applying cool temperatures to your joints. This helps reduce swelling and can numb locations of particularly bothersome pain. Ice packs, cold packs, or even a bag of frozen veggies will do the trick.XTrustworthy SourceArthritis FoundationMain organization devoted to arthritis support and educationGo to source
  • Try warm and cold packs on separate days to see what works better for you. Stick with whichever seems to work better.
  • If either warm or cold packs are too uncomfortable, discontinue use. Your comfort is an important factor in keeping your pain low.
  • Always test a sinkâs water temp by quickly dipping a finger in momentarily before submerging your hands.
  • Read Also: Arthritis Flare Up In Hands

    Why Do I Have Ra

    What is causing your joint pain? RA is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders result from your immune system mistaking your normal cells for foreign cells and attacking/destroying them. When your immune system attacks the lining of the membrane surrounding your joints , inflammation occurs. The constant inflammation of the synovium thickens the membrane lining and wears away the cartilage and bone in your joints, causing the physical pain you experience.

    The tricky thing about RA is that doctors are still unsure of what the underlying cause is. While genetics seem to be a contributing factor, the baffling mystery is that the majority of people suffering from RA have no family history of it.

    If Your Ankles And Knees Are Hurting While Youre Gardeningtry Kneeling On A Mat

    Relief for Arthritis Pain and Stiffness

    It shouldnt come as a surprise that kneeling to do all the yard work isnt as comfortable as it used to be. Kneeling for a long time isnt easy, and if you suffer from arthritis pain, you may feel more discomfort than most in your knees and ankles while planting new flowers and picking weeds. To make things more comfortable, try kneeling on a mat while youre gardening. You can use something as simple as a yoga mat you have lying around, folded over a couple of times, to give your ankles a break and cushion your knees. Another option? Buy a pair of kneepads. And dont be embarrassed because, lets be honest, were not usually dressed that cute to do yard work, anyway!

    Recommended Reading: What Can You Do To Help Arthritis In Your Hands

    Can Arthritis In The Hand Be Prevented

    Arthritis cant be prevented. However, you can watch for symptoms of arthritis as you age and see your healthcare provider if you notice changes in your joints. You can also take steps to control factors that you can control. Eat healthy to nourish your body and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your joints. Dont smoke. Smoking increases your risk of arthritis.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system turns on itself. It attacks synovium the lining of the joints. Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in other joints, it can also affect the spine, specifically the cervical region . Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is not caused by wear and tear, so its considered an inflammatory arthritis. It may cause back pain even when these joints are not in use. It tends to affect women more than men.

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    Counseling And Other Support

    Health care team

    Any major disturbance in your life–such as illness or chronic pain–may make you feel anxious, depressed, angry or even hopeless.

    This is your first place to turn for help. The team includes your doctor and a nurse. It may also include an occupational therapist or a physical therapist, a social worker, counselor, psychologist and a pharmacist.

    Talk to the members of the team about ways to cope with pain. They may be able to help you find services in your area. Don’t be afraid to suggest to your doctor a pain management idea of your own or one from this program. You know yourself and your pain better than anyone.


    Many people become depressed when they have severe pain. Some people feel so bad they cannot sleep or eat. In these cases, therapy or counseling may help.

    Some people are afraid to admit they need help. They believe that others will think they are crazy if they talk to a professional about their problems. But it’s smart to get help when you need it. If you have the symptoms of depression–poor sleep, changes in appetite, crying, sad thoughts–talk with your doctor.

    Some psychologists or counselors are specially trained to work with the emotional side of chronic health problems like arthritis. These people can also teach you how to manage stress. Pain is stressful. If you have increased stress, you may feel more pain. So learning to manage stress can also help you manage your pain.

    Support groups

    Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints

    Exercises to QUICKLY relieve stiff knees | Osteoarthritis | Dr Alyssa Kuhn

    Learn different ways to ease joint pain using warm water or a hot compress.

    Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints

    Learn different ways to ease joint pain using warm water or a hot compress.

    Looking for a natural way to get your joints moving in the morning? Close the medicine cabinet and try an age-old remedy that has stood the test of time: heat.

    If you have a chronic condition like fibromyalgia, arthritis, or lower back pain, try heating things up. Soaking in warm water or applying a heated compress is one of the oldest, cheapest, and safest forms of complementary therapy. Research has shown that heat treatments can loosen stiff joints and relieve achy muscles.

    Here is how it works. When you warm up a sore joint or tired muscle, your blood vessels get bigger. This allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to the injured tissues. Better circulation means more relaxation for those stiff muscles and joints.

    Stay away from heat if you have an acute injury or are having a flare. If you have a sudden onset of swelling and redness from overdoing it yesterday, you are better off using cold treatments for a few days. Cold has the opposite effect of heat: it reduces blood flow and decreases inflammation.

    Here are a few simple ways to heat up your daily routine.

    Here are a few simple ways to heat up your daily routine.

    Take a Steamy Shower

    Apply a Warm Compress

  • Dip your hands or feet in melted paraffin wax . Wait for it to cool and peel the wax off.

  • Managing Pain

    Recommended Reading: Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Worse At Night

    Extra Time In The Morning

    When your joints feel extra stiff in the morning, it can be difficult to move them and it may take you longer to get out of bed.

    Waking up earlier than usual can help give you extra time to allow your joints to loosen up, which can help you go about your daily tasks with more ease. Aim to wake up 30 to 60 minutes earlier than usual.

    Have Some Easy Breakfasts On Hand

    Overnight oats are my favorite breakfast. You put all the ingredients together in a jar the night before, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. There are tons of yummy recipes online. Having an easy healthy breakfast that doesnt have to be cooked makes my mornings much smoother. Catherine K.

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    Possible Cause #: Lupus

    Lupus is an autoimmune disease like RA. Your body attacks itself, including your organs and tissues. Lupus that attacks your joints can cause stiffness, pain, and swelling.

    Lupus is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic many other conditions. It may take several months for a lupus diagnosis while tests rule out other conditions.

    Like RA, lupus is chronic. Once you develop it, you will likely experience symptoms of the condition for the rest of your life. There isnt a cure, but treatments are effective at reducing and controlling symptoms.

    Other common sites include the:

    • knee
    • ankle
    • big toe

    Bursitis is often temporary, and treatment relies on resting the affected joint for several weeks. This may mean you need to reduce physical activity and keep the joint stationary for periods of time. This allows the bursae to recover and stiffness to resolve.

    Causes Of Morning Stiffness

    How To Get Relief From Hand Arthritis Pain And Reduce ...

    One theory regarding the cause of morning stiffness is referred to as the gel phenomenon. The gel phenomenon essentially means that stiffness develops after long periods of sitting or inactivity. This is characteristic of non-inflammatory conditions.

    Some researchers note that morning stiffness is a circadian symptom that is not fully understood. Some suspect there may be insufficient cortisol released in the body during the night to offset elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6. But, waking up in the middle of the night to take corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the inflammation would be inconvenient and not without its own side effects.

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    When Should I See A Doctor

    If you experience any of the following symptoms, its time to see a doctor:

    Severe or constant pain lasting longer than a few days. If the pain doesnt go away after a few days of self-care, or if its severe, its time to see a doctor. The stiff neck may be caused by something more serious.

    Difficulty swallowing or speaking. This can be a sign of an infection or other serious medical condition.

    Pain that radiates down the arm or shoulder. This can be a sign of nerve damage, which requires prompt medical attention.

    Fever. A fever may indicate a serious infection. See your doctor right away if you have a fever.

    Difficulty moving your neck. If you have difficulty moving your neck, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. See a doctor right away if this is the case.

    Fever/Chills or nausea. A stiff neck can sometimes be a sign of an infection, such as meningitis or strep throat. If you have a fever or nausea along with neck pain, see a doctor right away.

    Sudden weakness or numbness in your arms or legs.

    Neck pain that becomes chronic can start to diminish your quality of life. Here at William Capicotto, MD PC we pride ourselves on patient care and give you the individual attention you deserve. If youre experiencing any of these severe symptoms, please dont hesitate to call us at 881-0382 to schedule an appointment.

    Before And After Treatments

    Before using heat or cold:

    • Your skin should be dry and healthy.
    • Protect the skin over any bone that is close to the surface of your skin. Place extra padding over the area to prevent burning or freezing your skin.

    After using heat or cold:

    • Check the area for any swelling or discoloration.
    • Carefully dry the area.
    • Gently move your joint to reduce stiffness.
    • Allow your skin to return to normal temperature before using another treatment.

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    How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed

    Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:

    • Medical history and physical exam

    • Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies

    • X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint

    • MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes

    • Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint

    To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.

    Who Gets Arthritis In Their Hands

    Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatments for Stiff, Painful Joints

    You are more likely to get arthritis in your hands if:

    • Youre older. Osteoarthritis is commonly seen after age 50. Rheumatoid arthritis typically first appears between the age of 35 and 50.
    • Youre a woman.
    • Youre white.
    • Youre overweight.
    • Youve had previous injuries to your hand. If youve dislocated or broken any joints in your hands or fingers, you are more likely to develop arthritis.
    • You’ve inherited genes that cause the development of arthritis.

    Read Also: Ra And Pain

    How Can I Become Less Stiff

    Here are some ways to decrease stiffness and move with ease this year: Drink More Water. Seventy percent of your muscles are water, so it makes sense that not drinking enough fluids and dehydration lead to stiff muscles. Move Frequently. Walk 10 Minutes. Stretch in the Morning. Decrease Stress. Take Warm Bath.

    When To Visit The Doctor

    Though you should always talk to your doctor when experiencing a health issue, there are times when it’s more essential than others. If the stiffness appears suddenly or lasts for more than five to seven days straight, seek medical help. You should also see your doctor if you experience joint deformity, difficulty moving the joint, redness, severe pain, or rapid swelling with the joint stiffness.OrthoAtlanta orthopedic surgeons in the greater Atlanta areawho are trained in total joint reconstruction and total joint replacement can evaluate and treat joint pain, joint stiffness, jointinjury and deformity.

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    What Causes Arthritis Pain

    Many different diseases and conditions cause chronic pain. One of the most common is arthritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the joints. Other common types of chronic pain are backache, muscle pain, headache and sore feet.

    Arthritis pain is caused by:

    • inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints
    • damage to joint tissues caused by the disease process or from wear and tear
    • muscle strain caused by overworked muscles attempting to protect your joints from painful movements
    • fatigue caused by the disease process which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle

    Hot And Cold Treatments

    Pin on Knee &  Leg Pain Exercises &  Stretches

    Using either heat or cold treatments can reduce the stiffness and pain of arthritis.

    Cold packs numb the sore area. They are especially good for severe joint pain and swelling caused by a flare . Heat treatments relax your muscles. You can use dry heat methods such as a heating pad or heat lamp or moist heat methods, such as a bath or hydrocollator pack.

    Also Check: Can You Stop Rheumatoid Arthritis From Progressing

    Stretches For Arthritis In The Back Hips And Knees

    These three basic stretches will help loosen your back, hip, and knee joints. You can do all three of these stretches right in bed. Or, if you prefer, you can do them on the floor. These stretches should be gentle enough for everyone — including people who have had knee or hip surgery. But if you have any questions, ask your doctor.

    Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with your left knee bent and your left foot flat on the bed. Bend your right leg and place your hands behind your right thigh. Lift your right leg into the air and straighten it as much as you can, using your hands to gently pull your leg toward your chest. Hold for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. You should feel the stretch in your lower back and the back of your leg. Repeat this stretch on the left leg and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.

    Single knee to chest stretch: Lie on your back and bend both knees. Your feet should be flat on the bed. Take hold of your right knee with both hands and gently pull the knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of your leg and lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat this same stretch with the left knee and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.

    Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine

    Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:

    • Spinal stenosis compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal

    • Radiculopathy pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine

    Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:

    • Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed

    • Collapsed vertebrae

    • A spinal deformity called kyphosis

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    Relieve Tension And Stiffness With Stretching

    Let go of stress and relax your back and hips with these five simples stretches.

    The power of stretching is real.

    Reviewed by Doreen Stiskal, PhD, Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, Seton Hall University

    Cat and Camel Stretch

    A) B) C) If your hips have limited range of motion, do only steps A and B.

    Hamstring Stretch

    A) B) C) D)

    Single Knee to Chest Stretch

    A) B) C)If arthritis affects your knees, check with your physicaltherapist before trying

    Lumbar Rotation Stretch

    A) Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat on mat, arms extended to sides. B) Raise knees toward chest and keeping knees bent and together, slowly lower them to the right, keeping shoulders on the mat, until you feel a stretch in lower back and obliques. C) Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat to other side.

    Piriformis Stretch

    A) Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat on mat. B) Cross left foot over right leg, resting left ankle on right knee. Keeping pelvis flat, gently press left knee with left hand until you feel a stretch. C) Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat with other leg.

    Lunge Stretch

    A) B) C)

    Lat Side Stretch

    A) B) C)

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