Joint Stiffness – How to Prevent?
Have you ever woken up with the soreness in your back and neck? Have you felt that stiffness after sitting for prolonged periods of time? If you have, then you’re not alone. Joint stiffness is a fairly common condition that people experience. It usually goes away after a while or after moving about. But, there are cases where it gets severe enough that it starts to affect your mobility.
What causes stiffness?
There are many causes to joint stiffness. These include:
- Poor posture – be it sitting or sleeping, a poor posture will cause your body to be held in an awkward position for long hours, causing stiffness.
- Age – sadly, you do get stiffer as you age.
- Weight – this one isn’t so obvious. But when you are heavier, you place more weight onto your joints. Your fat cells also release inflammatory proteins which may lead to arthritis, leading to stiffness
- Other conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, gout, fibromyalgia, or bone cancer.
What to do if I have stiffness?
Depending on the cause, the treatment can differ greatly. The first thing you do is to consult a doctor or physiotherapist in order to see if your stiffness is caused by something systemic like gout or something more sinister.
If you’ve been assessed to have joint stiffness that’s posture related, your physiotherapist will work with you to loosen up your joints, strengthen your posture, and correct your posture.
How do I prevent it?
This is not going to be a popular answer, but the simple answer is exercise. The more you move, the less likely you are to get stiff. Even something as simple as walking for 20 mins a day will go a long way to preventing stiffness. As a bonus, you’ll strengthen your muscles, keep your bones strong, improve your balance, and lose some weight. The key is to start slow so you don’t get injured.
Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.
In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.