Reasons For Joint Pain In The Morning
Often, a combination of a variety of factors can contribute to joint pain in the morning, but here are four key issues to consider.
1. Lack of movement
Joint pain, particularly arthritic pain, tends to be worse in the morning due to the fact that we move very little during sleeping hours. Movement keeps the joints working smoothly, whilst being sedentary can exacerbate pain and stiffness. This discomfort usually wears off about 30 minutes after waking, once you start moving about again, but it may take longer in cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
Why Are Arthritis Symptoms Worse At Night
Article featured on Medical News Today
Many people notice that their arthritis symptoms get worse at night. When this occurs, it can be hard for people to sleep, leaving them exhausted in the morning and potentially contributing to daytime pain or fatigue.
It is common for pain to get worse at night. A 2020 study found that online searches for information about pain management peaked between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.
Doctors do not fully understand why arthritis pain often worsens at night, but possible causes involve changes in the levels of hormones and cytokines, which are cell-signaling proteins, in the body. Daytime arthritis medication, which some people take during the morning, may also wear off by the evening.
In this article, we examine why arthritis pain gets worse at night and how it disrupts sleep. We also provide tips on ways to improve sleep.
What Causes Knee Pain
The knee is one of the most vulnerable joins in the body. If youre suffering from knee pain, the discomfort is usually attributed to injury, age, or repeated stress on the knee. This type of stress includes kneeling, lifting, and walking as well as higher impact activities like running or training.
The knee joint connects the shin bone , the thigh bone , and of course, the knee cap. Your knee is the connecting point of your leg bones, with cartilage to absorb shock from movements. Tendons, ligaments, and muscles hold everything together to keep you walking, running, swimming, etc. without damage to the legs. In a nutshell, your knee is the connector and shock absorber of the legs, protecting you from injury.
But what happens when the knee is in trouble?
Because of the knees role as connector and shock absorber, if it becomes damaged, pain is sure to follow.
Depending on your lifestyle, age, and activities, your knee pain could be caused by a number of factors. Lets go through the common types of knee pain and their causes, so you can determine how to address these underlying issues.
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Why Is Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Worse At Night
Written By Mich Torres on June 26, 2022 Medically Reviewed By Mitch Torres
Up to 80% of patients with knee OA have sleep problems due to their condition. But, why is osteoarthritis knee pain worse at night? Well, 5 things may cause this.
From hormones to anxiety, or even several nights of poor sleep in a row. Although for most, its likely a combination of these factors that makes their arthritis symptoms worse at night.
Well discuss them, and more importantly how to solve each. Heres what well cover, tap on any of the bullets to go straight to its section:
What Can You Do For Pain In Hips And Knees
The first recommendation I make, if the pain is not chronic, is to exercise correctly. The saying No Pain, No Gain, does not hold true when it comes to hip and knee pain. Especially if the pain comes from arthritis. Switching to a low-impact exercise, like a stationary bike, stair stepper, rowing machine, or yoga are great options. Swimming is an excellent exercise that doesnt place weight on your hips and knees.
Sometimes the answer can be as simple as an orthotic insert in your shoe to help distribute weight away from your arthritic joint. Other non-intrusive solutions include oral anti-inflammatories, such as Tylenol or Motrin. Braces can also be helpful. In many cases, pain can also be controlled through corticosteroid or lubricant injections. Physical therapy can greatly improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the joint to take pressure off of the joint.
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Finding The Best Mattress To Alleviate Knee Pain
An old or low-grade mattress can cause discomfort and pain, worsening overall sleep quality. When you sleep on an inadequate mattress, you deprive yourself of much-needed rest and recovery. On the other hand, a high-quality mattress designed to both cradle and support joints can give your knees a break and help soothe aches and pain.
If you plan to replace your mattress with a model more conducive to knee comfort and recovery, look for the following features.
More Ways To Manage Nighttime Knee Pain
Aside from purchasing a new mattress, you can take other practical steps to reduce knee pain and help you get better sleep. However, keep in mind that every body and injury is different, and you should talk to your doctor before implementing any health-related changes.
- Try Heat or Cold Therapy Depending on your symptoms, either an ice or heat pack on the knee can provide some relief. If your joints are inflamed, use cold therapy on the affected joint to bring down the swelling. On the other hand, if you struggle with stiffness, use heat therapy to loosen up the muscles and joints.
- Do Some Stretches or Light Exercise If possible, try to perform some light exercise. Stretching can help to loosen and strengthen the muscles, preventing further injury.
- Rethink Your Sleeping Position How you sleep is a matter of preference, but if you suspect that your sleeping position is worsening your knee pain, you may want to train yourself to sleep differently.
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Why Does Knee Bursitis Hurt More At Night
We all know sleep is important. During our slumber, our bodies heal and do many complex processes that keep us alive.
Also, people experiencing knee pain at night can feel its worse than during the day.
So, how does sleep or lack thereof affect pain? Scientists have found several factors that make knee pain at night worse, including :
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene For Better Sleep
Sleep hygiene means having good sleeping habits. Done methodically, these habits can help you have a good nights sleep. This, in turn, will help you manage knee pain better.
A common habit is going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Your body will get used to it, making you feel sleepy around the same time.
If you can, make sure your room is dark and quiet with a comfortable temperature. Also, its best to avoid watching TV or scrolling on your phone before bedtime.
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Is Your Knee Pain Worse At Night A Physical Therapist Explains Why That Might Be
POPSUGAR reports on the causes of knee pain at night and solutions for relief according to HSS physical therapist Zachary Rogers, PT, DPT, CSCS.
“I would suggest seeing a physical therapist, a physiatrist, or your primary care physician if you are experiencing knee pain at night,” advised Rogers, as there are different conditions that can cause that pain, and only a trained expert can make that call. “Osteoarthritis is the musculoskeletal condition I see most often in my clinical practice that can present with worsening pain at night,” noted Rogers. “However, any knee condition that is associated with increased inflammation can present with increased pain at night. Some examples could be patella femoral pain syndrome, patella tendonitis, quadriceps tendonitis, and medial or lateral meniscus tears, he continued.
Another reason that knee pain can feel more uncomfortable at night is due to increased activity levels during the day that are outside the person’s exercise or functional capacity. “This can be seen when someone is accustomed to running one mile per day for exercise but then one day that person decides to run three or four miles without proper training or gradually building up to this distance, explained Rogers.
Read the full article at Popsugar.com.
Take Good Care Of Your Feet
It does not really matter what the cause of the leg pain at night is. You should pay close attention to your feet. This is even more important if the cause is poor circulation. Until blood flow is restored to your feet, you should do your absolute best to avoid any injury to the skin. Even the smallest of wounds can flare up and become infected and spread. For this reason foot care is really important when there is rest pain. Here are a few things you may want to consider:
You may want to read more about foot care.
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Look At Your Sleeping Position And Mattress
We’re all going to toss and turn during the night, but starting off in a good sleeping position is at least a good habit to keep.
The key thing to remember here is that any painful joints need a little bit of extra support. If you tend to sleep on your side and your knees cause issues, pop a pillow between your legs for extra support. If you tend to lie on your back, putting a pillow under your knees will help to reduce the pressure on both the knees and back.
Sleeping on your front is best avoided since the neck has to twist at an unnatural angle in order to breathe, and the inside organs can get a little squished. This is more likely to contribute to digestive issues, which you certainly don’t want on top of joint pain!
Osteoarthritis Can Result In Many Different Complications
According to Healthline, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have serious complications. Since knee osteoarthritis is also more likely to strike during night, this can easily disrupt your sleep, as well as reduce your productivity and cause you to gain weight. Knee osteoarthritis can also progress up to a stage 4 severe case, which would have to be treated by bone realignment surgery or total knee replacement.
Additionally, without proper treatment, the pain that arises from this condition can lead to anxiety and depression, according to a 2010 study published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology.
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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
While pain can disrupt your sleep, you can promote a more restful night when you include these sleep hygiene strategies into your daily routine:
- Avoid taking long naps during the day.
- Make your bedroom cool and dark.
- Avoid eating heavy foods or exercising right before you sleep.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about taking melatonin supplements or other sleep aids.
- Dont use phones or computers before bed since the blue light from the screen can disrupt sleep.
- Use a pillow and supportive mattress to avoid straining your back or your knees.
Muscle Cramps Are A Common Cause For Leg Pain At Night
If you ever had muscle cramps at night you know how painful that can be. Cramps occur at night during deep sleep. Cramps have many reasons. Here are a few:
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What Does Bursitis In The Knee Feel Like
Like a sharp pain on the inflamed bursa. Youll probably have a swollen lump in the area. If the bursa is infected, it may be warm and tender to the touch as well.
The pain usually increases with movement, like walking or climbing stairs. The swelling may restrict the range of motion of the affected joint.
Why Is Bursitis So Painful At Night
Because were paying more attention to our symptoms. Our senses arent distracted as usual.
The lack of movement also plays a role, as it reduces the blood flow in our joints. This can make them feel stiffer than usual.
Our worrying thoughts about our symptoms can also increase our perception of pain.
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What Is Pain Behind The Knee
Since the knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body, it makes sense that it might hurt sometimes. Although knee pain is a common complaint, it is less common behind the knee.
When Should I See A Doctor For Bursitis Pain At Night
Go to the doctor if:
- Your pain isnt getting better after 48 hours.
- You experience pain at night after a fall or a direct hit in the affected area.
- Theres any sign of infection: fever, redness, and/or warmth in the injured area.
- The pain is unbearable.
- You cant walk or move the affected joint.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may request a blood test and/or an MRI. This will help them check whats going on and how to help.
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/6here Is The Reason Why Your Knees Hurt At Night
Muscle tightness and joint pain bother most people at night. For some, it is a sporadic event, which happens after a long and chaotic day, while for others it is an everyday affair. Considering it a normal event, most of the time people take over-the-counter pain relievers and go back to sleep. But at times these aches and pain are a result of a larger issue that warrants further attention. If knee pain is something that disturbs your sleep every night then we suggest you visit your doctor as it is not something that you can afford to ignore.
Arthritis In Your Knee
Arthritis can happen in any joint in your body, but its especially common in your knee. It can make it hard to do things like walk or climb stairs.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common kinds of arthritis. Its the wear and tear kind that usually affects people over 50. OA happens slowly, and it hurts more over time. The cartilage wears away in your joint, and, just like with runners knee, bone rubs on bone and causes pain.
If you have OA, your knee may feel stiff and swollen and you may have trouble bending and straightening it. Its often worse in the morning or during rainy weather. Your knee may buckle or feel weak.
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How Should You Sleep With Bad Knees
An added pillow can be really helpful if you suffer from knee pain. If you sleep on your side, place the pillow between your knees to give them that extra support and cushion. If you sleep on your back, place the pillow underneath the bend in your knees so there is a slight elevation to alleviate pressure.
Take A Hot Water Bottle To Bed
Like a bath, the heat from a hot water bottle can help to reduce pain and ease swelling. Warming bean bags are also available and have a similar effect. These can be popped in the microwave and then wrapped around the offending joint.
I would recommend heating up your hot water bottle or beanbag an hour or so before bed, so that the effects kick in before you put the lights out to go to sleep.
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Why Arthritis Symptoms Get Worse At Night
Researchers have several theories to explain why many people with arthritis experience worse pain at night.
One theory is that the bodys circadian rhythm may play a role. In people with rheumatoid arthritis , the body releases less of the anti-inflammatory chemical cortisol at night, increasing inflammation-related pain.
Other processes may also intensify RA pain, including the nighttime release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, an increased number of cells traveling to inflamed tissue, and changes in the bodys immune response.
Additionally, the body releases higher levels of melatonin and prolactin at night, both of which can cause an increase in inflammatory cytokines.
A persons arthritis inflammation and pain may worsen if:
- they are already in pain when they go to bed
- their mattress or pillow puts pressure on their joints and irritates their arthritis
- they have other risk factors for insomnia, such as high stress levels or drinking caffeine before bed