Stiff joints usually happen after being immobile for long periods. For example, morning stiffness is common for people who end up sleeping in one position the whole night. For others, it happens when they are seated on a plane for long hours.
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Occasional occurrences of joint stiffness will go away once they stretch their body and move again. But for those who experience stiff joints for much longer periods, it might be something to look into.
Dealing with Stiff Joints
Prolonged joint stiffness can hamper one's daily activities. To deal with it properly, it's important to find out the causes, treatments, and when to consult a doctor.
Causes of Joint Stiffness
Bone cartilage stiffens and dries out as one grows older. Thinner cartilage causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
The body produces lower amounts of synovial fluid as well. This fluid is natural oil that aids joint movement.
Time of the Day
Affected joints may feel stiff during specific times of the day.
Most people experience stiff joints when they wake up in the morning because of the synovial fluid has been stationary for a long time.
Another reason why people wake up with stiff joints is because they slept in an uncomfortable position. It's important to keep one's neck and spine aligned to prevent stiffness.
Gaining excess weight puts added pressure to one's joints and causes stiffness. An increase in fat cells creates more protein which also causes inflammation in the body.
Putting weight on the joints is what primarily causes arthritis, which leads to joint stiffness.
Certain food may trigger inflammation in the joints and cause stiffness. A bad diet tends to lead to diseases that cause stiff joints like gout and arthritis.
Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis (OA), happens when the bone cartilage between joints thins out. It causes joint pain and stiffness because of the lack of protection between joints.
This disease can occur in the hips, neck, knees, back, and finger joints. Over time, one can develop bone spurs. Bone cartilage may go away completely as well and cause joint injury.
Found to be the most common type of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is experienced by 1.5 million Americans between ages 30 to 60.
Rheumatoid arthritis is mainly an autoimmune disease that forces one's immune system to attack the joints. It causes joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain, as well as eventual bone erosion and joint deformity.
When the tiny fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions for your joints become inflamed, bursitis occurs. Though it is usually a temporary condition, it causes painful joints and stiffness.
It commonly happens on the hips, shoulders, elbows, big toe, ankles, and knees.
Like RA, lupus is a chronic condition and autoimmune disease. It causes the immune system to attack healthy organs and tissues of the body.
Lupus affects the joints and causes stiffness, pain, and inflammation.
Sudden tenderness and pain in the joints is caused by gout. It usually starts in the big toe and then affects all other joints of the body, causing stiffness and aching.
It's another type of arthritis that commonly happens in men and is caused by high levels of uric acid.
Though this type of cancer doesn't usually cause joint pain and swelling, it may still happen in severe cases.
This chronic condition also causes joint pain and stiffness. It commonly happens when a patient also has other autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Treatment Options for Joint Stiffness
There are pain relief options available to reduce joint stiffness and severe joint pain.
Hot and Cold Compresses
Applying a cold compress to the affected joint will reduce inflammation and ease stiffness. Keep it on the affected area for 20 minutes and reapply every few hours.
Cold therapy works because the coolness numbs the area to keep severe pain symptoms at bay.
A hot compress may also be done to relax the muscles and improve circulation of blood vessels in the affected joint. A warm shower or a heating pad may be used for this.
Pain Relievers and Steroids
Nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs can relieve mild symptoms of joint pain. These include over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, paracetamol, and naproxen.
For more severe pain and stiffness, corticosteroids may be prescribed.
Improving Your Diet
Switching to a plant-based diet can help relieve joint pain. Vegan and Mediterranean diets have been found to be good at reducing swelling in many parts of the body.
Losing weight is another key factor to ease pain and swelling in the joints. Keeping a healthy weight will relieve pain symptoms from inflammatory arthritis and similar joint diseases.
Doing regular exercise is an effective way to improve mobility and reduce joint pain. Just be sure to avoid overly strenuous workouts as these may only aggravate the pain.
Working with a physical therapist to plan a physical therapy routine is recommended. Patients who stick to a physical therapy plan experience joint pain much less and observe a decrease in other symptoms.
It has been found that taking fish oil supplements with a mainly Mediterranean diet eases joint pain and inflammation.
The omega-3 fatty acids in the dietary supplements help patients experience symptoms of joint pain and arthritis less often. Other healthy fats in supplements may also ease symptoms and prevent viral infections.
Consulting a Doctor for Stiff Joints
Though improving lifestyle factors and using over-the-counter supportive aids can relieve joint pain and swelling, seeing a doctor is still highly recommended.
Experiencing joint swelling and pain for extended periods of at least five days requires a doctor's attention. You may be recommended to see orthopaedic surgeons or given prescription medication.
Your doctor may conduct a physical exam to see what exactly the cause of swelling and pain is. They might also conduct blood tests and exams to find any broken bones that are contributing to your joint pain.
Managing Joint Stiffness
Joint pain may be caused by a variety of factors. These include rheumatoid arthritis, bone cancer, or different types of arthritis. Autoimmune conditions may also happen where your body attacks the joints and causes pain.
Once over-the-counter remedies and other medications no longer seem to work for easing joint pain, then it's best to see a doctor.
Organic Greens 365™ for Joint Pain and Stiffness
The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes in Organic Greens 365™ make it a good supplement for easing joint pain.
The formulation contains fruits, vegetables, and herbs that minimize inflammation to prevent joint and muscle pain.
When taken regularly, joint stiffness and pain caused by arthritis, bursitis, and gout may become more manageable.
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