Arthritis pain can make mornings difficult to manage. Nighttime inactivity will typically result in pain and stiffness, but small adjustments to your routine can add up to a great deal of relief.
Kendra Benisano, RN, BSN, Home Care Supervisor at Seniors At Home, encourages individuals with arthritis to be patient with themselves, especially in the morning. Kendra says, “It can be frustrating to wake up with pain and stiffness each day, but by taking it slow and helping your body warm up slowly, those with Arthritis can enjoy a full and active day ahead.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with arthritis pain, Kendra recommends these eight tips to help to ease arthritis morning stiffness, reduce frustration and streamline your routine:
PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Select your outfit the night before. Do the ironing and lay everything out flat so that it is easy to get dressed in the morning. Pre-tie neckties or scarfs so that you can simply slip them over your head.
STAGE YOUR BEDSIDE FOR MORNING MEDICATION
As you get ready for bed, place a glass of water, your medication, and a couple of crackers by your bedside. Set your alarm for an hour before your usual wake-up time. When the alarm goes off in the morning, simply take your morning medication with plenty of water. Eat a few crackers to help prevent an unsettled stomach. Then, reset your alarm for your usual wake-up time. This will give your medication time to get into your system and make getting out of bed much easier.
“Following your doctor’s recommendations about pain relief is very important,” Kendra says. “Waiting until you’re already in quite a bit of pain to take a pain reliever can be counterproductive.”
START WITH A STRETCH
Upon waking, do some light stretching before you get out of bed. A gentle stretch can make a big difference in your mobility as you start your day.
Stretch your arms above your head and point your toes. Roll your ankles gently side to side. Rock your hips left to right, then bend, and straighten your knees.
HEAT THINGS UP
Kendra suggests taking the time to warm your body. “Heat can work wonders for soothing stiff and achy joints,” she recommends. “Try using a warming blanket or heating pad to warm your body in the morning. Take a warm shower or toss your clothes in the dryer before getting dressed. The warmth will sooth your joints.”
LET THE SUNSHINE IN
Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you wake up. The natural sunlight sends signals to your brain and body to wake up. Exposure to sunlight increases your brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, which is associated with boosting mood and helping you feel calm and focused.
BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR CLOTHES
Getting dressed can often be a challenge when having to zip, button, pull or wrap. Be creative when planning your outfits. Choose garments that have wider or lower armholes that make it easier to get into. Use a buttonhook to fasten small buttons on shirts or blouses. Add a metal ring with an opening or an easy-grip ribbon to a zipper to make it easier to grasp. A long handle shoehorn makes it easier to put on shoes when bending is hard. Look for Velcro closures on clothing that wraps.
PREP FOR A HASSLE FREE BREAKFAST
Stock your refrigerator with breakfast items that are easy to grab or take little preparation. Prep hard-boiled eggs, overnight oats and fresh fruit. Try to include as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible, like berries, grapes, or avocados for toast. Get your morning caffeine (and antioxidant) by timing the coffeemaker to have coffee ready or make a cup of green tea.
ASK FOR HELP
There may come a time when all the preparation is still not enough. When that time comes, ask for help! If you have family or friends nearby, they may be able to help you in the morning when joint pain is high and mobility is low.
For those that do not have family or friends to assist in the morning routine, hiring an in-home caregiver is a good solution.
Kendra explains, “Having a caregiver there to help with morning tasks can get the day started on the right foot. We find caregivers who work with our clients’ specific needs and take great care to create a good match for them personally.”
For more information about Seniors At Home, or with any questions about aging or senior care, call 415-449-3700 or contact us online today.