A Troubleshooting Guide to Morning Aches and Pains
Do you leap out of bed excited at the thought of experiencing another morning — or do you just lie there, afraid to move because of the pain you’re likely to feel? Aches and pains are never welcome, but they can really dash your spirits when they plague you from your first waking moments. It helps to understand why these discomforts are occurring in various parts of your body, and how you can put a stop to them through safe, drug-free methods such as physical therapy.
Where Does It Hurt?
Each area of the body has its own particular vulnerabilities to different kinds of morning pain. Here’s a quick troubleshooting guide to help you figure out what’s going on.
- Jaw pain– Does your jaw feel stiff and achy when you wake up in the morning? You may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw as you sleep, a problem known as bruxism. This habit is associated with emotional and physical stress.
- Neck pain– If you feel like someone tried to twist your head off during the night, you may have the wrong kind of pillow for your individual needs. Incorrect head and neck support can leave you with agonizing stiffness.
- Back pain– Pain can afflict any part of your back first thing in the morning. If you can barely move in the morning or never get quite comfortable at night, you may be using the wrong kind of mattress for your back.
- Hip pain– If you experience hip pain that feels like it’s coming from within the joint and is at its worst upon awakening, suspect osteoarthritis. If the pain feels like it’s on the outside of the hip and bother you more at night, suspect bursitis.
- Heel pain– If taking those first steps in the morning are torture for your heels, but the pain then recedes as you walk around, you probably have a chronic inflammation of the arches called plantar fasciitis.
Physical Therapy Can Help You Have Nicer Mornings
Morning pain and overnight pain are closely related. Issues such as chronic lower back pain may nudge you into wakefulness many times each night, creating a twinge with every little body motion. By the time you have to get up, you feel even more pain that you did when you went to bed.
Physical therapy can help you reduce those morning aches and pains. An experienced physical therapist knows how to evaluate your symptoms in detail, see how they correspond to your sleep quality (or lack thereof), and identify the underlying causes.
This understanding allows for the creation of a physical therapy program aimed at eliminating or controlling those causes. For instance, we might determine that your back needs a firmer or softer mattress, or that your neck could benefit from a contoured cervical pillow. Other time-tested physical therapy modalities can help you strengthen your back, tame bursitis, relieve plantar fasciitis, or control osteoarthritis symptoms. We can even educate on stress-busting techniques to help your jaw, as well as which sleep positions are most likely to ease joint discomfort.
Awaken to the Benefits of Working With Our Physical Therapist
From conquering chronic pain sources to improving your “sleep hygiene,” you’ll find that physical therapy can help you ease morning aches and pains in a number of ways. Don’t sleepwalk through life in a haze of chronic pain — wake up and contact St. Luke’s & East Tennessee Rehab for an evaluation!