FROM OUR EXPERTS
"My knee feels stiff when I sit for a long time and it hurts to get up. But, after I walk for a few minutes, the pain eases up."
"My hands are stiff in the morning or after I take a nap during the day. After I have been awake for about twenty minutes, the pain is completely gone."
"My lower back is very tight in the morning and it hurts to get out of the bed. I do a few exercises and my back seems to loosen up."
The above are just a few of the comments I hear on an almost daily basis. In osteoarthritis, joints are commonly sore, stiff, and painful after sleep or after resting them for a while. After getting up, the joints "loosen up" as they move around and are used. In the spine, the small facet joints are a common source of arthritis and back pain. The facet joints work as hinge joints similar to the hinges on a door. In a young, non-arthritic person, the joints glide smoothly over one another. However, as the joints become arthritic, they function more as a rusty hi...
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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