Feeling Stiff and Achy? Physical Therapy Can Help!
Everyone wakes up feeling some pain in their joints or muscles from time to time. But if you find yourself consistently waking up stiff and achy, it might be time for pain-relief work with a physical therapist. Aching or stiff joints may be a minor problem that is easily remedied; in other cases, your doctor may have diagnosed a condition or ailment that will benefit from physical therapy. We’ve worked with a wide range of patients who struggle with aches and pains, and we would be happy to work with you to help you enjoy a better quality of life as well!
Why Am I Stiff and Achy When I Wake Up?
Joint tissues become irritated throughout the day and by the evening, when your mind is tired, you might not even notice it. When you fall asleep and remain mostly immobile overnight, that allows the inflammation to grow thicker and irritate the joints even more. The result is that when you wake up in the morning, your joints are stiff and achy. After you start moving around, the inflammation becomes more liquid-like and the pain will lessen. One common remedy for this, which your physical therapist is likely to recommend, is that you stay properly hydrated throughout the day. Staying hydrated allows your body’s tissues to function at their normal pace, whereas dehydration slows down your chemical processes.
More Serious Medical Conditions
If your doctor has diagnosed you with a more serious medical condition that impacts your joints and tissues, physical therapy can probably help. Here are some of the most common ailments that can be relieved with the guidance of a physical therapist:
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Bone cancer.
All of these conditions can cause aching, stiffness and joint pain. A physical therapist will work with you to help you try to achieve a greater range of motion with affected limbs or joints, and to relieve the pain so you can enjoy a better quality of life.
Tips for Stiff and Aching Joints
Your physical therapy regimen will largely depend on your specific symptoms or diagnosis. However, there are a lot of common recommendations that work hand-in-hand with physical therapy. Here are some tips that your physical therapist will likely share with you on your journey to wellness.
- Get Good Sleep. Getting enough sleep at night creates a circular benefit with physical therapy exercises. When you get enough sleep, it increases your ability to effectively exercise. When you exercise regularly, it helps you to get better sleep. Better sleep habits and physical exercise are a powerful “one-two punch” for keeping aches and stiffness away.
- Use Better Posture. If your work requires you to sit at a desk for long hours, or if you stay sedentary for long periods every day, try to get up every half hour for some light stretches. Move around to keep your circulation going, which helps to relieve joint pain. Proper posture when sitting or standing will help your joints to function properly. When we use bad posture, it puts strain on areas of the body that weren’t meant to be stressed.
- Improve Your Diet. Be sure to consume lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These healthy foods have more antioxidants and vitamins, which fight off the inflammation that can lead to joint pain. A better diet also helps you to get better sleep and helps your body receive more benefit from exercise.
Physical Therapy Exercises
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or an Olympic-class athlete to work with a physical therapist. Most of the exercises and stretches that your therapist will recommend are simple to perform and don’t require any special equipment — and most of our patients are just regular people (not super athletes).