Rheumatoid arthritis is more commonly associated with morning stiffness. We love to get up with a dash of energy after a good night’s sleep. It feels disappointing to realize hints of a bad headache soon after getting up. We feel frustrated and upset though this situation might be a rare one. Imagine the plight of those people getting up from their bed with pain and discomfort all through their body every single day of their lives. Its distressing and calls for some immediate intervention.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes joint pain, stiffness (including morning stiffness) and inflammation. More than 80% of people with RA experience morning stiffness. The percentage is so high because the core of this problem is due to prolonged joint inactivity that’s not avoidable as you are asleep. To sail smoothly through the day, it is better to ease out of the morning stiffness pain as soon as you wake up, maybe even before getting out of bed. Practicing the below-given tips regularly can help you as much as possible:
Get up earlier than required to increase mobility on your joints: After waking up, move your stiff joints slowly and gently, give circular motions and don’t stretch them too much. This must be done for every joint of the body including your wrist, knee, elbows, fingers and neck irrespective of whether they pain or not.
Heat therapy: Try giving heat therapy in bed for 30 minutes by placing a heating pad on the joints. Use this time to read your paper in the mobile or your favorite book. Even if you don’t have 30 minutes try doing it for at least 10-15 minutes for which you need to get up early.
A hot shower: Right after some exercises for relaxing your joints go for a hot shower. Its good to use a 30-minute hot water bath or if you don’t have much time to spare at least go for a quick 10-20-minute hot water bath. Heat helps to warm your joints and causes the blood to move to the surface of your skin.
Stretch & relax: As soon as you get up stretch your joints and muscles to increase blood flow, elevate circulation and reduce pain. There is no harm in doing it in the comfort of your bed but do it slowly. Bend your knees, rotate your elbows and ankles and do some simple yoga poses (after learning them from a professional) to keep your joints active. It does take time for them to start responding normally but the results are worth the efforts taken.
Stress is bad for RA and might elevate your pain. Meditate, do some breathing exercises or listen to soothing music to calm down. This helps to manage your morning stiffness.
Drink water: Staying hydrated is essential to keep your joints in the right way as our joints require enough hydration to stay healthy. Its advisable to keep a bottle of water near your bed and use them whenever required rather than getting up with a stiff back that might only prevent you from getting out of bed.
Healthy breakfast: The right breakfast helps to keep you healthy, nutritious and packed with energy to sail through the day with a zing. Choose an anti-inflammatory diet that goes easy on your inflammation. Get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help you plan an anti-inflammatory diet suiting your body requirements. This might hep to ease pain, keep you healthy and prevent you from getting hit by inflammation problems badly.
Take breaks between work: Morning stiffness can rarely extend beyond the first hour or so after getting up in the morning and last for hours together too. If you have the opportunity to work from home utilize this option as it gives you more chances of moving around in between work. Taking breaks and stretching your arms and legs is mandatory to keep your muscles and joints flexible.
Always keep meds by your bed: Medicines can lessen morning stiffness symptoms but it’s not good to reach out for them every time owing to their side effects. Just in case you might need them, its advisable to keep medicines near the bed so that you can use them in the morning to ease stiffness symptoms before getting out of bed.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.