Solution To Joint Stiffness : Joint stiffness is the sensation of difficulty in moving a joint or the apparent loss of range of motion of a joint. Joint stiffness often accompanies joint pain and/or swelling. It can be caused by injury or disease of the joint and is a common finding in arthritis conditions. Joint damage including stiffness can also occur following injury to the joint. Stiffness following surgery or injury to a joint develops as a progression of four stages : bleeding, edema, granulation tissue, and fibrosis.
CAUSES OF JOINT STIFFNESS
Most people will experience joint stiffness at some point. Age is a common cause of joint stiffness mainly due to length of use. When age is the major reason for joint stiffness, any number of joints can be affected. Common causes include:
Bursitis develops when tiny fluid-filled sacs in the joints, called bursae, become inflamed. The inflammation causes pain as well as stiffness.
Bursitis can occur in almost any joint, but it is more common in larger joints, such as:
It is also common in the big toe.
Bursitis usually heals on its own with rest. A person should generally:
reduce activities that move the joint
resting the joint for long periods
Resting the joint allows the bursae to recover, which relieves the pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative arthritis that affects nearly 27 million people in the United States. This type of arthritis is caused by wear and tear and is, therefore, more commonly seen in people over the age of 65.
Osteoarthritis often affects:
As it progresses, it can cause:
swelling and pain
cracking noises with movement
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack otherwise healthy joints. People with RA will experience pain and swelling as the body attacks the joints.
There is no cure for RA. Treatments are aimed at slowing the progression of the disease.
Lupus is another autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissues, such as muscles and joints. When lupus attacks the joints, symptoms include:
Lupus is often difficult to diagnose because many symptoms are similar to other medical conditions. There is no cure and the symptoms will get worse over time.
Gout is sudden arthritis that tends to affect men more often than women. Gout is a rapidly developing disease, with symptoms sometimes appearing overnight, often in the big toe. Symptoms include:
- severe pain
- severe sensitivity
- stiff joints
- swelling and increased heat of the joint
Gout can develop in any joint. Gout usually appears for a short time and then goes away. People with gout often have symptoms throughout their lives.
When a person is overweight, their weight is higher than what doctors consider healthy for their height. The most common way to measure this is with the Body Mass Index (BMI). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define BMI higher than 25Trusted Source as overweight, higher than 30 as obese, and higher than 40 as severely obese.
When the body carries additional weight, this weight places extra pressure on the joints. In addition, fat cells can release proteins into the body that can cause inflammation. Both of these factors together may lead to arthritis, which can cause joint stiffness.
In addition, research shows that being overweight may cause all kinds of metabolic problems in the body, which may haveTrusted Source a negative effect on bone health.
- Sleeping posture
Many times the way people sleep at night can contribute to joint stiffness.
When a person does not sleep in a way that aligns the spine and keeps their neck in a neutral position, they may wake up feeling stiff or achy.
People who sleep on their sides may want to avoid lying on a particular side if it is already feeling stiff. Using a variety of pillows around the body can help keep it in the right sleep position for a good night’s rest and less joint stiffness.
- Time of day
In addition to sleeping posture, research shows that joint stiffness may beTrusted Source more severe in the morning when a person first wakes up due to a correlation between inflammation and a person’s circadian clock. This is more likely in cases of joint stiffness resulting from rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, there is some evidence that poor sleep may make joint discomfort worse at night. This, in turn, contributes to poor sleep. For this reason, people who have conditions like arthritis may struggle to get enough rest at night.
Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Family history. Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder.
- Age. The risk of many types of arthritis — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout — increases with age.
- Sex. Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis, while most of the people who have gout, another type of arthritis, are men.
- Previous joint injury. People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
- Obesity. Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. People with obesity have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
PREVENTION OF JOINT STIFFNESS
Before you start looking for treatment options, you should consult a doctor. The best way to find a suitable treatment is to find out what is causing the problem. Your doctor can diagnose the problem and recommend an appropriate way to ease the stiffness and prevent other symptoms you may be experiencing. Here are some remedies your doctor might suggest treating your discomfort:
- Cold or hot compresses can be helpful. The cold will reduce swelling, and the heat will relax muscles and joints.
- Physical therapy and exercise help improve mobility and maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can reduce joint stiffness.
SOLUTION TO JOINT STIFFNESS
Treatment will include:
- Range of motion exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Aerobic exercise
A licensed physiotherapist will also perform a thorough assessment to determine the causes of your joint stiffness to help you resolve this issue. They use manual joint mobilizations if they feel that this therapeutic approach can help and is not contraindicated. Try us at Effective Physiotherapy & Fitness Clinic, Abuja.
In addition. your doctor may also prescribe disease-modifying drugs if your joint stiffness is disease-related and they may help slow disease progression and improve symptoms.
Physiotherapists can provide exercises that can help improve joint movement and reduce stiffness. These exercises are generally designed to either increase the range of motion of the joints or to increase the flexibility of body muscles, nerves and connective tissue. Examples of exercises that improve the range of motion in joints include hip rolls, hip swings, trunk rotation exercises, shoulder rolls, side bends, among many others. Stretching exercises, particularly those focused on the lower extremities, tend to increase flexibility.
In addition to exercise prescription physiotherapists use a range of techniques to improve joint stiffness. This includes joint manipulation and mobilisation or massage and dry needling to improve muscle flexibility. It’s wise to use a cautious approach with this kind of exercises and a normal recommendation is to seek
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