I Just Can’t Get Up: Morning Pain
The person who suffers with fibromyalgia more often than not begins the day with muscle stiffness and soreness – a result of the syndrome. It need not be aggravated or instigated by anything performed the previous day. Morning stiffness, like so many other attributes of FMS, just is, period.
There are studies that indicate that more than 75% of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia get out of bed feeling stiff and sore. It is often a whole body experience rather than just the hands, or just the legs. Sleep for many with FMS is an elusive thing and most don’t experience a full night’s sleep ever. Some nights are better than others, but overall most nights are spent in a light, easily disturbed state. Falling asleep isn’t usually a problem – it’s staying asleep and having a peaceful, undisturbed sleep that is challenging. As a result of inadequate and irregular sleep, the morning sees the person waking exhausted and hurting from the variety of muscle reactions experienced through the night. The body is unable to rejuvenate itself because of the disturbances, and this contributes significantly to muscle stiffness and pain.
Trying to Cope with the Fibro Stiffness and Pain
Sometimes the morning stiffness lasts a short time and once a hot shower and some movement has occurred, the pain and stiffness subsides. However, often the pain lasts for hours and sometimes all day. The stiffness goes beyond simple minor aches and pains. It has been likened to the type of pain those with rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis experience. This tightness in the muscles and joints can cause discomfort for the entire day. Movement and range of motion are restricted, the pain is chronic and may interfere with normal activities like sitting, resting or standing for long periods of time.
Many people resort to muscle relaxants and pain killers just to get going in the morning. However, these things can leave one with a hangover that clouds the mind and senses. On top of that, ingesting large amounts of pain medication and muscle relaxants has a negative effect upon the digestive system and other parts of the body.
There are several things that can exacerbate morning stiffness for a person with FMS. A lack of exercise or too much exercise can have a similar effect. Carrying too much body weight is another reason joints and muscles ache. A poor diet and as we noted, inadequate sleep along with an environment that is too cold or too damp are all contributors to the condition. So, what is a person to do?
Some Possible Fibromyalgia Solutions
One of the best ways to help the body loosen up is with exercise – but not the strenuous variety. Walking at as fast a pace as possible while swinging the arms helps to get the blood circulating to the muscles and it warms the muscles up and releases endorphins. It also helps to remove toxins from the body. Toxic waste in the muscles can be a cause of soreness and stiffness.
Often people with FMS tend to gain weight, mostly because the pain in their bodies tends to keep them immobile. So, they eat and don’t move – and gain weight. This weight works against them by putting additional stress on the joints and muscles. It is important to understand what foods exacerbate the symptoms of fibromyalgia (wheat gluten, simple carbohydrates and dairy are a few), and to clean up the diet to make it healthier. Often just changing some of the food choices to healthier, organic choices makes a big different – both in the way one feels and in how much they weigh.
Believe it or not, poor posture can contribute significantly to muscle stiffness and soreness. Even though it may feel difficult to stand straight, by encouraging your body to be more erect it is possible to relieve some of the tension in the muscles. Over time it is possible to remove the stress from overused muscles that are carrying the stress for muscles that may be hurting.
Try to Relax and Deal with Stress Appropriately
Learning some relaxation techniques and stress management mechanisms can help the body to cope better. Stress invariably causes muscles to tense and the net result is discomfort and pain.
While there is no answer for why people with fibromyalgia wake up with morning stiffness, it is possible to use some of these tips to help cope with it. Read more about morning stiffness in our article here.