Morning Stiffness and Fibromyalgia
Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you are just unable to get out of bed? Do you have joint aches and muscle stiffness? If you can answer yes to these questions then you may be suffering from a very common symptom of fibromyalgia – morning stiffness. As many as 90% of fibromyalgia sufferers complain that they are victims of morning stiffness. This stiffness is often long lasting and recurrent, and sometimes becomes a permanent symptom of fibromyalgia. If you think that you may have morning stiffness, learn more about its symptoms and consult with your health care provider. He may be able to help you find the treatment, like drug-free supplements, that’s right for you.
What is Morning Stiffness?
Morning stiffness is pretty self-explanatory – it’s stiffness that you feel when you first wake up in the morning. But what does this stiffness actually feel like? Well, most sufferers describe morning stiffness as a tightness in the muscles and joints throughout the body. This muscle joint stiffness usually lasts for at least 30 minutes, though it can last for hours. It also doesn’t exclusively occur in the morning – it can continue well into the afternoon and evening. This stiffness can impede movement and range of motion as well as cause aches and pains throughout the body.
The majority of fibromyalgia sufferers seem to experience morning stiffness at some point during their illness. At least 70% of people with fibromyalgia deal with morning stiffness on a regular basis. 50% of these people experience chronic morning soreness and stiffness that lasts for hours, day after day. This morning stiffness can have a huge impact on a person’s daily activities, making it difficult to sit, stand, or rest for extended periods of time.
Where Does Morning Stiffness Occur?
Morning stiffness occurs in the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body. Stiffness can be felt in pretty much any connective tissue, but the extremities are particularly at risk for stiffness. This means that most people with fibromyalgia will feel their morning stiffness in their hands, feet, arms, or legs. The back is also particularly prone to stiffness, especially the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine areas.
Symptoms of Morning Stiffness
There are numerous symptoms that often occur with morning stiffness. If you notice any of these symptoms, report them to your health care provider so that you can get appropriate treatment and relief.
- tightness in the muscles after you wake up in the morning
- stiffness in hands, fingers, feet, toes
- gelling, or tightness in the muscles after periods of rest (ie. long car rides, sitting at the office, afternoon naps)
- aching or throbbing pain, especially in the hands, arms, legs, and feet
- inability to fully extend certain joints, limited range of motion
- headaches, particularly tension headaches beginning at the base of the neck and extending over the head
- stiffness in the head, back, and neck
- stiffness reoccurring at night
Certain factors seem to aggravate morning stiffness in patients with fibromyalgia. Many people note that cold and humid weather make their morning stiffness worse. Insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders also contribute to the severity of morning stiffness symptoms. Over-exercising certain muscles can lead to stiffness after periods of rest. Anxiety and stress are also known contributors to morning stiffness.
What Causes Morning Stiffness in Fibromyalgia?
No one is really sure what causes muscle stiffness in people with fibromyalgia. In fact, the chronic morning stiffness that so many people with fibromyalgia suffer from is actually kind of a mystery. Typically, morning stiffness is associated with inflammatory forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis. Morning stiffness in inflammatory arthritis tends to be very common and can last for hours a day. Fibromyalgia, though, is a not an inflammatory arthritis and therefore should not produce the type of muscle soreness and stiffness that it does.
Theories do exist as to why people with fibromyalgia suffer from morning stiffness. Like those with inflammatory arthritis, stiffness could be caused by:
- overuse of certain muscle groups
- lack of exercise or activity
- stress caused by inappropriate limb movements
- collection of fluid in the joints
How does Morning Stiffness Impact Fibromyalgia Sufferers?
Morning stiffness can take its toll on you, especially if you suffer from severe symptoms. Muscle stiffness and joint stiffness can make it difficult to go to work, drive a car, or even get out of bed in the morning. However, with movement, morning stiffness does get better and it is usually possible to keep up with your daily tasks. If you are suffering from morning stiffness it is a good idea to consult with you health care provider. Relief is out there.
If you are looking for more information about another common symptom of fibromyalgia, frozen shoulder, click here.