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
  • insomnia
  • stiffness reoccurring at night

Aggravating Factors

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.


Table of Contents
1. Morning Stiffness
2. Tight muscles and joints
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