One of the most frequent questions I get in my Newmarket chiropractic office is, “Why am I so stiff in the morning.” “First movement” pain or morning stiffness usually lasts approximately 15-45 minutes for those who experience it. Once the day progresses, the stiffness usually improves only to worsen by the end of day. It can often disrupt sleep as well. The cycle then repeats.
The most common cause of morning stiffness is usually arthritis which can be diagnosed by an x-ray. “Motion is lotion” for the joints and when not moving while at rest or sleeping, fluid or inflammation tends to build up in the joints causing them to stiffen. This can even happen after prolonged sitting. Stiffness and pain can also happen without the presence of arthritis, so it is important to find out why you may be experiencing it before trying to manage it.
Here are some common signs of spinal arthritis/morning stiffness –
Interestingly, research shows that the level of damage/arthritis correlates poorly to the amount of pain someone may have. Even children can have asymptomatic spinal arthritis (click here). So, when trying to help someone with spinal arthritis, we always must consider the functional ability of the patient in addition to what the imaging (x-rays/MRI) may show us.
Here is a list of things I have found to be helpful in managing our patients with spinal arthritis/morning stiffness –
There is hope available to those with the morning stiffness associated with spinal arthritis. Becoming an active participant in your recovery plan ensures the best possible outcome for managing your pain and stiffness.
Yours in movement,