Tips for Combating Rheumatoid Arthritis Morning Stiffness
4. Utilize the Power of Heat
Heat can be an important tool in fighting RA morning stiffness, whether used on a regular basis or just on particularly difficult mornings.
For example, you could adjust your thermostat to kick the heat up about half hour before you get out of bed, include a heating pad in your bed stretching routine, or move straight from your bed into a nice, hot shower. Heat is a great way to boost the blood flow into your joints, which will help relieve stiffness.
5. Morning Medications
If you take a morning dose of medication, make sure you incorporate this step into your morning routine.
It might even make sense to keep your medication and some water on your nightstand, so you can maximize the impact of the medication by taking it before you even get out of bed.
Depending on the medication, you may also want to consider keeping a small snack on your bedside table so there will be something in your stomach while you take time to get moving before breakfast.
6. Enlist Help
Another way to minimize the difficulty of dealing with morning stiffness is to enlist help from your family.
For example, my husband brings me a hot cup of tea in the morning to help me get moving. He takes care of getting breakfast for our kids too, which makes it a lot easier for me to get moving and manage lunches and dinner later in the day.
So see if anyone in your family can help you adjust your routine or trade tasks to make the mornings easier to handle.
7. Try to Stay Positive
Lastly, I always try to face the day with a positive attitude – no matter how I may be feeling when I wake up.
Most days I know I have to get out of bed and get moving no matter how I feel, so I personally find this a lot easier to do if I can try to keep myself in a good mood.
The morning stiffness may still be there, but I don’t have to let it ruin my entire day!
Now that you've learned all the different strategies for combatting rheumatoid arthritis morning stiffness from Mariah, Anna offers her tips on how to manage RA stiffness throughout the day.
Combatting Stiffness Throughout the Day
Many people with RA have joint pain and stiffness throughout their day, which can make work or school so much less tolerable. There are a few ways you can make it a bit easier on yourself.
Firstly, don’t be afraid to take hot packs, heating pads or over the counter patches that deliver heat. These can be placed on your affected joints during the day to help keep them mobile and pain-free.
If you have a job where you are expected to type a lot, it is important to take regular breaks and stretch your fingers to keep them from getting tight.
Additionally, if you work at the computer, it can be really easy to develop back and neck problems and stiffness and pain related to poor posture.
Make sure your workstation is ergonomically correct.
If you're using a laptop, consider getting a desk (or you can use a bed tray) to put your computer on so that you’re not bending down to see what is on the screen. You might also want to try using a separate keyboard that can be placed lower than the monitor so you can still sit and type comfortably.
If you have trouble with a stiff back and neck during the day, you can also apply heat to it to keep it from getting too stiff. If you are sitting down for the bulk of the day, it is also important to stand up and stretch your body to keep it from getting too “used” to being in one position.