If you feel stiff and painful in the morning, you probably want to know why you are stiff, what does it mean and what can be done about it. Morning stiffness effects millions of people worldwide just like you. Contrary to popular belief, morning stiffness is not just a sign of getting older.
Morning stiffness is actually caused by the lack of joint fluid that lubricates a joint. This lack of lubrication leaves a joint stiff in the morning. In normally functioning joints, the joint easily lubricates itself with just a little movement. Normally, person will not perceive any stiffness at all. As the fluid is squeezed out the surrounding cartilage, the joint loosens up and moves without a hitch. In joints affected by inflammation and disease, the joint fluid is less easily released into the joint space. Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are the most common cause of joint stiffness.
Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to visit with my friend, Leslie, and her husband. Her husband noted that Leslie, who is in her late 40s and who regularly instructs exercise classes, no longer qualifies as a ninja because her joints crack when she moves, thus alerting those around to her presence.
I can empathize. I have always had joints that would periodically crack, but now it seems that everything creaks regularly, especially when I get up in the morning. I also find that I feel a lot stiffer (and more clumsy, to boot). It turns out that the menopausal process can be behind this stiffness. “Muscles and joints can become sore, and coordination is affected; an increase in clumsy behavior may be noted,” wrote Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge in “The No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause.”
In the companion guide to her “Menopause in an Hour” video series, Dr. Tara Allmen noted that aches and pains are common. She also notes that after ...
Last week, I had my monthly massage with Ruth. I love going to see her because (a) she’s become a friend; (b) massages (for the most part) feel really good; and (c) I get a chance to analyze what’s happening with my body when she hits a pressure point or finds a muscle that’s really tight. This month, I asked Ruth to pay attention to my legs. “My hamstring muscles have been really tight as of late,” I told her during our pre-massage discussion. “They haven’t been cramping, but they feel like they are thinking about it.”
So why would they have been tightening up? Ruth’s guess was that these muscles were reacting to the extra mile that I’ve added to my daily walk with my dog. And – surprisingly – she found that my calf muscles were much tighter than my hamstrings.
So what is muscle stiffness? “Muscle stiffness is [the] feeling of tension and contraction in the muscles, that may limit normal range of motion,&rd...
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