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3 Tips to Reduce Morning Joint Pain

By Kate Gardner

Ouch! Waking up with joint pain is a bad way to start your day. Maybe your neck and shoulders scream when you push yourself out of bed or your lower back needs a good long while to straighten up. Sleeping is supposed to be restful, but there are a number of ways it can aggravate your joints, making your slumber less than peaceful. 

Sleep and Joint Pain

According to, joint pain when you wake up isn't uncommon. You might have pain in your neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, or feet. Even if your joint pain is caused by something other than your sleep, like arthritis, different sleep factors can certainly make these pains worse. Michael Schaefer, MD, the Director of Musculoskeletal Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic, offers the following advice on reducing joint pain. 

  • Sleep position - Your sleep position can cause pain. Sleeping on your side is preferable to sleeping on your back, with a pillow between your knees. Side sleeping keeps your body in better alignment. If you have a sore shoulder, try sleeping on the opposite side.  If you absolutely have to sleep on your back, make sure to put a pillow under your knees. 

  • Keep it still - If necessary, wear a sling or bandage to help immobilize a sore shoulder. This will keep you from extending your arm in an awkward position while you sleep that makes your shoulder pain worse.

  • The right mattress - Schaefer recommends a firm mattress, which can help keep your body in better alignment while you sleep. Add a foam mattress topper to more evenly distribute your body weight. 

While a lot of morning joint pain and stiffness are caused by your sleep position, mattress, and pillows, not all of it is. Our movement during the day helps to lubricate our joints. At night, we are relatively still. Without movement, our joints can swell more during the night and cause increased stiffness and pain.

Visit Your Chiropractor

Chiropractic care can be an important part of easing the pain in your neck, shoulders, back, and hips that result from poor sleep positions or mattresses. Chiropractic adjustments can help correct joint restrictions throughout the body that affect how your joints work and feel. These adjustments may improve joint motion, relieve joint discomfort, improve flexibility, or decrease inflammation. Regular adjustments combined with better sleep habits can go a long way toward reducing joint pain in the morning. Chiropractic care also has the added benefits of being non-invasive and non-addictive.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, visit your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Peachtree Corners, Ga.  

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