Some of us are morning people, and some of us aren’t. Think about it for a second, how do you wake up every day? Do you greet the morning with a smile, or do you wince in anticipation of the pain you’re about to experience once you get out of bed?
If it hurts you to rise up out of your bed to start your day, know that it’s not in your head, and you’re certainly not alone!
There are many reasons you might experience aches and pains when you wake up, but there’s good news! You can find pain relief from your discomfort early in the day by using some simple physical therapy techniques. Read these three stretching exercises, and then call our physical therapy office for more information and tips!
Get your day started off right!
Ongoing physical therapy can help you manage many different chronic pain conditions, but there are a handful of specific physical therapy exercises that can help you start your day off right.
Depending on what is causing your morning aches, our physical therapists will prescribe a number of safe and simple stretching exercises for you to perform in the comfort of your home when you wake up.
- Knee-to-chest stretches: This one doesn’t even require you to get up out of bed! While you’re still lying flat on your back, pull both knees toward you until your feet are flat on the bed. Next, use both hands to pull your right knee, and then your left knee, toward your chest. Do this 2 or 4 times, holding the pose for about 30 seconds each time, to loosen up your lower back.
- Towel stretches: If you have plantar fasciitis pain, this exercise can help you before you even set foot out of bed in the morning. With your leg extended, wrap a towel or (other long piece of cloth) around the bottom of the foot, and then pull the ends of the towel toward you until you feel the calf muscle lengthen and loosen.
- Shoulder/upper back stretches: From a standing position, hold your right elbow with the opposite hand and stretch your right arm across the front of your body, keeping the arm straight. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, repeating 2 or 3 times for each arm to loosen the shoulders and upper back.
Common symptoms of underlying health conditions
If you’re experiencing morning aches and pains, they can often indicate a specific underlying health problem that needs to be treated immediately.
For instance, back pain that is at its worst first thing in the morning, but clears up after you’ve been moving around for awhile, could be an indicator of spondyloarthritis (inflammatory back pain). Morning pain accompanied by crushing fatigue could be a sign of fibromyalgia.
If you experience pain in the heels of your feet that causes you to hobble until you’ve been walking around for a little while, this indicates an inflammatory tissue problem called plantar fasciitis. Swollen joints on both sides of the body, accompanied by redness or fever, may mean rheumatoid arthritis.
If you’re feeling these kinds of aches and pains, your body is trying to tell you something: you need help! These kinds of conditions don’t magically disappear on their own overnight, so if they continue to cause problems for you that worsen over time, it’s a sign to seek professional help.
Why do I feel stiff and achy?
You might sleep through the night without ever realizing that your back, neck, shoulders, or other parts of the body are being affected by hours of stillness. Tight muscles and stiff joints only become tighter and stiffer with inactivity, especially as you sleep!
Common overnight processes that can lead to morning aches and pains include:
- Trigger points, hard knots of tissue that can form when you sleep in awkward positions for hours (especially if you have fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome)
- Overnight tightening of weak or chronically inflamed tendons, ligaments or other connective tissues
- Reduced production of synovial fluid in the joints, which aggravates the pain of arthritis
Ready to find true pain relief? Call us today!
These physical therapy stretching techniques can help you greet the day with a smile instead of a wincing groan. If you’re dealing with any of the above pain conditions or showing symptoms that might point to an underlying condition physical therapy could help, don’t wait any longer.
Contact St. Luke’s Physical Therapy today for more information and to set up a consultation.