Community Thoughts: Handling RA Stiffness in the Mornings

Last updated: October 2016

Colder weather can hit with full force - and mornings, especially winter mornings, can be a challenge for many people with rheumatoid arthritis. So we asked our Facebook community: What tips do you have for managing morning stiffness? Check out their responses below and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

Warmth is Key
As hot of a shower as you can manage

  • I take a hot bath most days and a quick shower afterwards
  • I do a long bath with medicated oils at night and a hot shower in the morning
  • I stand under a hot shower to get going. Gentle hugs
  • The shower is the best part of my day

Do the dishes in hot water to loosen my hands

  • I will wash the dishes or just soak my hands in hot water if they are stiff
  • I soak my hands in very hot water for a few minutes, with or without dishes
  • Washing dishes is good therapy

Stretch it Out
Range of motion exercises can help

  • I start doing range of motion exercises before I even get out of bed in the morning
  • Swimming early in the morning lessens the stiffness
  • I exercise before I get out of bed – lots of stretching too
  • I do upper torso exercises by standing feet together, arms straight out, clasped hands, tummy in and twist from side to side

Slow morning stretching can loosen you up

  • I get up at 5am and sit on the bed a while to try and ease the pain by moving about
  • I set my alarm so I can hit snooze and spend the time slowly stretching every inch of my body
  • I take a few minutes to stretch before getting up

Plan Ahead
Getting ready the night before helps

  • I try to shower in the evening – it’s easier to dress in PJs and just go to bed
  • The less I do in the morning, the better – I go as far as to pre-do my makeup and hair at night
  • I lay out clothes the night before and I cook and package lunches for the week on the weekends
  • I do most things the night before – especially opening the coffee jar and making sure the kettle is full

Take a pill and wait it out

  • I get up a half hour before my alarm to take pills then I sleep or lounge around while I wait for them to kick in
  • I give my body an extra 10-15 minutes after taking a pain pill in the morning
  • I get up and do necessities, then go back to bed, take my pain medicine and drink my coffee and let the stiffness go away

Mental Preparation
Prayer and meditation

  • I keep praying every day and live one day at a time
  • I wake up and pray – time with the Lord helps
  • I sit on the couch and do a morning meditation

Coffee, coffee, coffee!

  • Hot coffee is a must
  • My wonderful husband brings me coffee
  • I hit the coffee and pace up and down the kitchen for a while

Stay positive as much as possible

  • Staying positive goes a long way as to how my day goes
  • For me, it’s mind over matter – I know I have to get up and get moving… I always have a smile on my face and a positive attitude, that is how I get through my worst days
  • I try to keep a good attitude going, even when the pain is still there

How about you? Do you experience morning stiffness? And if so, how do you manage it? Have hot showers become a part of your daily regimen? Or maybe you get ready the night before? Share your thoughts with us below!

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