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Five Ways to Prevent Stiff Joints in the Morning

Ever wake up and feel so sore you’re not sure you can get out of bed? Morning joint stiffness is a common complaint among older adults, and several changes contribute to this symptom as we age.

One major cause of this pain is drying cartilage — the spongy cushioning that helps to absorb shock. A decline in production of synovial fluid can also mean joints are less lubricated. Additionally, stiff tendons and weak muscles become even tighter due to lack of activity during sleep. Finally, the symptoms of arthritis, a condition commonly associated with aging, can be more severe in the morning.

No matter what’s causing your morning pain, you don’t have to live with stiff, achy joints every day. Here are a few ways to get your joints going at the same time you do.

1. Stretch in Bed

Pop right out of bed upon waking up and you’re sure to feel like the Tin Man. Instead, try a few gentle stretches while you’re still lying down to gradually wake the joints up. Start by moving your neck from side to side, then stretching the upper body. Rotate hands and wrists in small circles, then activate the shoulders and elbows with similar gestures. Continue this circulation slowly down the body, including hips, knees, ankles, and toes in a way that feels good to you.

2. Take a Hot Shower

Make your way to the shower after climbing from bed. Turn the water temperature up to the highest comfortable setting, then allow your stiff joints to reap the soothing benefits of heat. Stay under the spray for at least 10 minutes to expose your joints to both water and the steam, which can help reduce inflammatory agents that contribute to arthritis.

3. Move Throughout the Day

Vigorous exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do with sore joints, but low-impact physical activity is one of the best treatments for joint pain. It strengthens supporting muscles, boosts bone strength, provides energy, and can help control your weight to reduce the strain on your joints. Regular movement also promotes restful sleep, giving your body the opportunity to repair overnight. Work with your care provider to come up with a plan that incorporates low-impact aerobic exercises, such as swimming or cycling, as well as stretching and strengthening moves.

4. Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

According to the Arthritis Foundation, following a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce inflammation that causes joint pain and stiffness. The dietary approach prioritizes inflammation-fighting agents, such as omega-3 fatty acids in fish and monounsaturated fats in nuts and seeds. It incorporates antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as beans and whole grains. It also limits processed foods, which often contribute to inflammation.

5. Assess Your Mattress

While the right mattress can alleviate joint pain, the wrong one can aggravate it. If you’re getting the recommended eight hours of sleep, mattress quality becomes even more compelling, as you’re spending a third of your life there! The Sleep Foundation recommends models that provide both cushioning and support, prevent sinking, and keep the spine in proper position.

At Alliance Spine and Pain, we don’t just mask joint pain or stiffness with medication — we use individualized treatments to prevent or relieve them. To find out how we can ease your joint pain and stiffness, schedule an appointment online or by calling (770) 929-9033.

Two black friends working out together, discussing how to avoid pain before workouts.

How to Avoid Pain Before Workouts

If you’ve ever worked out before, or even just done something physically strenuous, then you know that sometimes the next day your body feels worse for wear. It hurts to move, your muscles ache, and, sometimes, there is pain that might be a bit more serious. It could be you went a little too hard on the run or on the weights you were using, and the pain follows you around for weeks after.

There are habits you should be before, during, and after working out that will keep the pain away so you can stay on top of your game. To learn how to avoid pan before workouts from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain, keep reading below.

What to do Before and During Workouts

  • Warm up. Make sure to properly warm up. Do some small movements, like spinning your arms in circles, or walk for a few minutes before beginning your exercise. Depending on what you’re doing for the day, there are certain static and dynamic warm ups you need to perform. Do some research to figure out your best warm up plan.
  • Stretch. In the same vein of thought, whatever muscles you use should be stretched out properly before you begin to work them. Take the time to do your favorite stretches before you hop on your equipment.
  • Hydrate. If you stay properly hydrated, you can successfully prevent cramping and inflammation of your muscles, which prevents muscle soreness.
  • Research the correct form. If you’re going to be doing some difficult weight lifting or long physical activity, make sure you do plenty of research beforehand on the correct form. It can make a world of a difference to your muscles and prevention of injury if you use the correct form while running or while deadlifting.

What to do After Workouts

  • Cool down. Just like it’s vital to warm up before exercising, it’s also super important to cool down. After you’ve finished lifting weights or running, consider walking for a few minutes or cycling to let your muscles relax.
  • Roll it out. Using foam rollers to roll out your muscles reduces soreness and also help strengthen your body for future workouts by relieving the tension in your muscle’s connective tissue. All you need to do is spend about 10 to 15 minutes after your workout using the tool, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Give yourself a massage. If you don’t have a foam roller, you can always self massage to help loosen the tension and get your muscles feeling back to their normal selves.
  • Apply heat or cold directly to the source. If you’re experiencing severe pain from sore muscles, grab a heat pack or some ice to apply directly to your muscles. This will help alleviate the pain quickly.
  • Ice bath. Not afraid of cold water and really afraid of sore muscles? Jump in an ice bath. It’ll be a pain to create in your own home and it probably won’t be much fun, but it will give your muscles a fighting chance to not be sore after a grueling workout.
  • Warm bath. If the idea of an ice bath sounds horrible and you already have sore muscles, go for the opposite and climb into a nice warm bath. The steaming water will relax your tight muscles and also help to promote blood flow.
  • Eat some pineapple or cherries. This one may sound a bit weird, but it’s been scientifically proven that the chemical makeup of pineapple and cherries can reduce inflammation and prevent sore muscles. So, if your sore muscles are killing you, always keep some of these fruit around.

If you regularly experience severe pain after working out, click here to contact the expert pain management specialists at Alliance Spine and Pain. We can assist in ensuring that your workouts are as good for your pain as they are for your body and continue to teach you how to avoid pain before workouts.

September is Chronic Pain Month

It’s Chronic Pain Awareness Month and Alliance Has A Challenge

It Is Chronic Pain Awareness Month and SpinePains Has A Challenge
The ACPA (American Chronic Pain Association) has a challenge that we at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers want to issue to our patients and followers as well. The challenge is called “Give a Squat for Pain”, and the focus is to bring attention to those who live with pain every day. A “Wall Squat” is the challenge, and the goal is to hold it as long as possible because one thing you will feel is pain after holding it for a period of time. This gives a taste of what people that go through pain every day may experience.

Take The Challenge Be Involved

You can take the challenge in many different ways from just simply doing a wall squat, challenging friends and co-workers, or do it as a team. Don’t stop there though share on social media with the hashtag #GiveASquat4Pain and let the world know your acceptance of the challenge and awareness to the pain epidemic that affects so many people. The entire month of September is Pain Awareness Month on an international level, and the goal is to increase the understanding so there is more assistance to those that are affected by it.

At Alliance we have a team of highly trained medical providers and treatments that help people every day who deal with chronic pain. If you or someone you know could benefit from pain treatment, contact us today at 770.929.9033.