Are you having difficulty climbing out of the bunk because of stiff joints or are your joints not as flexible as they use to be? Joint stiffness is marked by a reduced range of motion or the inability to move a joint.
Joint stiffness is very often a natural consequence of the aging process, particularly perceptible during cold weather months. However, stiff joints can also be caused by an autoimmune disorder, inflammatory disease, connective tissue disease, joint injury or some other health related circumstance.
Here’s a partial list of health conditions and situations for which stiffness in your joints can be a symptom:
- joint injury
- bone disease
- Lyme disease
- psoriatic arthritis
- infectious arthritis
- Reiter’s Syndrome
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- joint immobilization during bone fracture healing
Your quality of life and posture can suffer whenever your joints are stiff. And the primary form of treatment for joint stiffness is exercises focusing on improving joint function. Physical therapy can help increase your joint’s range of motion via three types of exercises:
- passive ~ therapist, equipment moves joint without your help
- active assisted ~ you use surrounding muscles to perform the exercise with some help
- active ~ you perform the exercise by moving the joint with surrounding muscles without assistance
Heat therapy, massage therapy, taking anti inflammatory drugs, acupuncture and yoga may provide relief treatment for your stiff joints as well. When joint stiffness is extreme and does not respond to conservative treatment, then arthroscopic surgery to remove your joint lining may be necessary.