Author: Kara Schuft, PT, DPT: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Business owner, and Blog Contributor. Specializing in chronic pain, pelvic health and peripartum care. Passionate about health literacy and conversation around our changing bodies throughout the lifespan. Learn more about Kara here.
As people age, many develop aches and pains that become progressively worse and begin to interfere with their normal work requirements, daily activities and even healthy sleep patterns. In many cases these aches and pains are worse upon awakening in the morning and ease as the person arises and begins to move about. Although this type of pain can have a number of causes, some of the most common ones are those related to a decrease in the level of overall health or activity, an illness or injury, a sedentary lifestyle, inadequate or improper exercise and poor nutrition.
Why Are Aches and Pains More Prevalent Upon Awakening?
Although general pain and aching can be attributed to many causes, inflammation is one of the most common. As you move about throughout the day, the tissues of the body often become irritated, resulting in chronic inflammation. If the irritation is not severe, you may not be aware that anything is happening inside your muscles and joints but as you sleep, the inflammation becomes thickened, making your body's tissues less elastic. This inelasticity increases the irritant level in the tissues of the body and the results are felt as stiff or aching muscles and joints upon awakening.
As you arise and begin to move about, the inflammation in the tissues becomes less thick, allowing the tissues, muscles and joints to begin to move more freely and the pain recedes.
When this constant cycle of building and receding inflammation repeats again and again, chronic tissue degeneration occurs and permanent damage can result. This is why it is important to take morning aches and pains seriously and find proven ways to relieve the discomfort.
What Are Some Effective Ways to Help Relieve Common Aches and Pains?
Some of the best ways to help reduce the occurrence of morning aches and pains and the damage they cause is to take better care of your body and work to improve your overall health. This includes making sure that you:
Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on anti-oxidant rich fruits, vegetables and nuts, such as peppers, carrots, broccoli, berries, grapes, citrus and walnuts
Drink plenty of water to ensure proper hydration of body tissues, including muscles and joints
Get regular, low impact exercise to make your body's metabolism more efficient and help to remove waste materials that can build up and inflame body tissues
Get enough restful sleep to maintain body chemistry and help promote normal function
Improve sitting and standing posture to alleviate pressure points and help to prevent stress on muscles, joints and bones that can promote unhealthy inflammation
Learn to manage stress to prevent involuntary tensing of muscles that can result in inflamed muscles and joints
Can Physical Therapy Be Effective for Aches and Pains?
Aches and pains that do not respond to your efforts to relieve them, those that seem to worsen or those that are related to some type of recent or past injury, can often be helped with the assistance of a professional physical therapy team, like ours. By using our skills and knowledge of the human anatomy, we can help patients reduce aches and pains and strengthen muscles, joints and bones to help ward off the inflammation that causes this type of discomfort.
To find out more about how physical therapy can help you deal with your aches and pains, contact us now. We can help you determine the cause for your discomfort and work out a convenient physical therapy plan to help you become stronger and enjoy better mobility at any stage of life.