How to overcome morning stiffness

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S.A.C. Dip (Diet, Exercise & Fitness), Advanced Human Anatomy & Physiology Level 3
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21 January 2019

1. Watch your diet

Diet has a huge part to play in the health of the muscles and joints. Certain foods have the ability to ease muscle pain, for example, whilst others can actually add to the problem. Sugar and saturated fats are the biggest culprits here as they are highly inflammatory. This includes things like fizzy juice, cakes, butter, cream and processed meats.

If you are suffering from stiff and painful muscles and joints it may be worth cutting down on these foods to see if it helps your symptoms but don’t worry, there are plenty, more beneficial ingredients you can choose instead. Omega 3, which is present in oily fish, soybeans and other tasty foods, is definitely one to top up on as this is anti-inflammatory. 

Also, here at A.Vogel we are always reminding people to keep up their intake of fresh fruit and vegetables as there are so many nutrients to be gained from these foods. They can, however, also help to bring some relief when muscles are feeling a bit stiff. Blueberries for instance, have those all-important anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidants which also benefit sore muscles. 

2. Keep moving throughout the day

Inactivity can contribute to stiffness in the morning as this does not give the muscles an opportunity to stretch or strengthen, nor does it allow synovial fluid, which keeps the joints lubricated, to circulate. So, if you have a desk job, a driving job or suffer from mobility issues that prevent you getting up and about (or you’re just not getting enough exercise), this could be contributing to stiff muscles and joints. 

To get moving more I’d recommend taking a walk in your breaks or at lunch time if that is possible. If you can’t get up and about during the day then arrange some activities in your free time. Why not meet some friends to go for a walk? It’s social and healthy! Alternatively, try out a gentle exercise class or choose to walk instead of drive to the local shops.

3. Do some stretching

As you begin to get moving more throughout the day, you may also want to incorporate some stretches to help ease stiff muscles and joints. This is a great way to loosen up at the start of the day but to keep this feeling up throughout the day, make sure you are stretching at regular intervals. 

You can follow our exercise videos if you need a little guidance on how to stretch safely. Our Get Active advisor Louise has also written a blog on stretches you can do at your desk if you need a little advice on how to keep moving whilst sitting down. 

4. Take a warm bath or shower

This is another excellent way to kick-start the day if you suffer from morning stiffness as it helps to relax the muscles and joints. It improves circulation and, by force of gravity, it also provides support for the muscles and joints. As warm water reduces tension in these areas, a warm bath or shower is a good opportunity to do some stretches that will help to ease stiffness further. 

Research has shown that the effects of a warm bath or shower are not temporary either and, in fact, they can last even after you get out.

5. Get some magnesium

This mineral should be top of mind for anyone with aches, pains and stiffness as it has a relaxing effect of the nervous system and therefore helps to reduce discomfort, as well as muscle spasms and twitches.

Magnesium is abundant in a range of foods including pumpkin seeds, spinach, quinoa and bananas. It is also present in our Balance Mineral Drink, alongside calcium, zinc, potassium and vitamin D which, as I’m sure you know, is good for the bones. 

Balance isn’t just beneficial for muscle function and bone maintenance though, it also helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness. Therefore, if any pain or stiffness prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep and makes you feel a little tired during the day, Balance could provide a natural pick-me-up.  

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Balance can be added to milk or water for a refreshing and tasty drink.

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6. Change your sleep position

An awkward sleeping position can restrict blood flow round the body and, as a result, you’re likely to experience pain and discomfort not just in the morning, but throughout the night too. Poor circulation also causes a build-up in lactic acid which will contribute to stiffness. 

To help you find the right sleep position I’d recommend you read our Sleep Advisor Marianna’s blog on the topic. This piece discusses how your sleep position affects your health and goes into the pros and cons of various positions.

7. Tackle stress

Stress can cause the muscles to tighten and, as a result, it too can contribute to stiffness. The longer the source of stress remains, the more severe your symptoms are likely to become.

Tackling stress isn’t a straightforward process but there are lots of things you can do to at least ease the problem. Talking to those around you, for example, can bring some relief, plus others may be able to offer advice and solutions you hadn’t thought of yourself. 

Another option is to try a calming herbal remedy such as Stress Relief Daytime. Made from Valerian and Hops, this relaxes the nervous system very gently and in doing so helps to relieve symptoms of mild stress and anxiety. 

8. Try Atrosan

If you’ve put in place some lifestyle changes to manage your morning stiffness but still aren’t seeing the results then it may be necessary to look at other options. Made from extracts of Devil’s Claw, Atrosan can bring relief from muscle and joint pain, as well as backache, stiffness and rheumatism.

Atrosan makes a good alternative to conventional painkillers as it works to reduce inflammation but does not have any of the negative side effects you’d find in the likes of ibuprofen or paracetamol.  

Why do I feel stiff when I wake up?

As I have discussed throughout this blog, there are many things that can make you fell all stiff and sore in the morning. Inactivity, magnesium deficiency, diet, stress and sleep position all have a part to play. However, health conditions such as arthritis can also these symptoms. This causes inflammation in the joints that can often be worse first thing in the morning. If you are concerned about this particular issue I would definitely recommend having a conversation with your doctor. 

Another issue I haven’t mentioned yet is age which can also make us more prone to stiffness. That’s because as we get older the cartilage that is found between the joints, begins to stiffen and dry. There is also a reduction in the amount of synovial fluid produced by the body which usually keeps the joints lubricated.

In order to overcome morning stiffness you will have to work out why you feel so stiff and sore in the morning and then work out ways to address the problem from here. Hopefully my blog has given you some helpful advice on how to do this but if you require further information then don’t hesitate to visit your doctor.




A.Vogel Atrosan Devil’s Claw Tablets

30 tablets

£ 12.99

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Relieves muscle & joint pain, backache and lumbago. Also available in 60 tablet size.
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As the A. Vogel Muscles and Joints advisor, I recommend Atrogel® for the effective relief from aches and pains.

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