As we age, we start to notice a lot of changes in our body. Our skin loses its elasticity, we notice more grays in our hair, and some movements may not be as smooth or easy because of joint stiffness.
What is joint stiffness?
Joint stiffness is what the name suggests – stiffness in the joints. This is a common complaint among the older population and usually a result of wear and tear.
The severity of joint stiffness varies. Some people only experience mild stiffness and may only affect mobility for a short period of time. However, for some, it can be so severe that even small movements cause discomfort.
Joint stiffness can be made worse with pain and inflammation.
Is aging the only reason behind joint stiffness?
Although aging is the most common reason behind joint stiffness, other conditions can also lead to it. This includes gout, bursitis, lupus, degenerative joint disease, and bone cancer.
How to relieve joint stiffness?
As joint stiffness can be a result of different things, it’s important to see a doctor or specialist before trying out any home remedy. Our orthopaedic experts at Ozark Orthopaedics will conduct a thorough physical exam and may recommend additional tests to confirm the underlying cause of your joint stiffness.
If home remedies can help alleviate the discomfort, the following may be suggested:
- Over-the-counter medications. Medications such as NSAIDs and Ibuprofen can help relieve mild joint stiffness.
- Cold or hot compress. Cold compress can help reduce the swelling (which can accompany joint stiffness) while heat relaxes the muscles and the joints.
- Steroids. For joint stiffness that can’t be easily relieved with OTC drugs, steroids may be recommended to reduce the inflammation.
- Supplements. Glucosamine sulfate and fish oil supplements can help reduce joint stiffness, pain, and inflammation.
- Physical therapy and exercise. Mild, supervised movements (like what you see in some types of yoga) can improve mobility and keep you within a healthy weight range.
Being overweight is an important risk factor for arthritis (another cause of joint stiffness) so movement is vital for those who experience joint pain.
If movement is challenging or you don’t know where or how to get started, we have well-experienced physical therapists who can help.
For appointments, you may call us at (479) 521-2752.