Reducing morning stiffness in joints: Does anyone have... - NRAS

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Reducing morning stiffness in joints


Does anyone have any tips or hints to reduce morning stiffness in joints or just to get moving more quickly? I have heard eating a banana before bed helps.

17 Replies

I just find stretching and clenching my fingers helps, preferably in a hot shower. As for feet, same again and walk like on hot coals until they decide to play :-)

Paula x


Not heard of the banana thing I have to say - but, in the very early days of my RA, when I was literally completely seized top to toe in the mornings, I used to lie in bed and do repetetive "range of movement" type exercises, starting with my neck and working my way through all the joints until I could move enough to get out of bed. Then I would soak my wrists and hands in warm water and clench and unclench my fingers int the water to try to ease the stiffness. I always find a hot shower very soothing too and I find that actually playing the shower spray on the joints if you can manage (and if you can bear it) can help some too.

I'm not sure where you are in terms of diagnosis, meds etc but hopefully the morning stiffness will improve for you if your inflammation can be better controlled. I have had RA for 17 years and, although I do have some degree of morning stiffness, it is never as bad as it was in the early days before I was on the appropriate meds. I do remember how miserable it is, though, waking up feeling like that, and how difficult it makes it to get up and dressed, particularly if you are trying to get to work on time

Thinking of you..


Thanks for the reply... i am a teacher and go back to work next week and at the rate i am going, i will gave to get up at 4 to leave at 7.30!

in reply to emsyb1986

Hello - I'm a teacher too so good luck for next term. When I was first diagnosed I had to get up very early because of the stiffness but as the medication has worked I've been able to get up later, gradually. Try not to carry heavy piles of books etc around - I found that caused big problems with my writs and shoulders.


You still haven't said where you are in terms of your RA though Emsyb? - I am much less stiff than I was before MTX but still have to be pretty ginger first thing - especially with hands which I usually lie in bed and try to open and close and wriggle fingers for about 20 minutes before I get up properly. Sometimes I do this using moisturiser once I can get the lid off! I find running them under slightly hot water helps. I have to get up early to get my boys off to school on time - but this is Scotland and we're now into the second week of the new term. Never heard that about the bananas!? TTx

I've heard of bananas for muscle cramps, as high in potassium, so maybe they'll help stiff joints too? Worth a try if you like bananas anyway. I too do a series of stretches before I get out of bed, and then head straight to the shower. But also make sure your mattress is properly supportive, to help make sure your body isn't getting too scrunched up while you sleep. Polly

well i am 3 months down the line - diagnosed in may but had this since february- was on sulfasalazine but didnt really help... now on methotrexate and prednisolone too. part of the prblem is that i have a ruptured bakers cyst which is affecting my knee... which is affecting my walking and causing my feet to really hurt. i have been told i have to wait for my body to sort itself out which is great - been doing that for nerly 10 weeks!


I can see how frustrating this must all be - especially being a teacher and having to be on your feet and working with young ones etc. But 3 months isn't actually that long - it took me 6 months for the MTX to work and then it only seemed to work properly when Hydroxichloraquine was introduced as well about 4 months ago. The baker's cyst sound horrible - I don't know enough about them to have any suggestions but I do hope the drugs work well for you very soon. Tilda

My Rheumatologist suggested an exercise bike or swimming for decreasing stiffness, I say take it easy and have a stroll if you can, luckily the methotrexate seems to work well for some people, generally most will require combination Dmards, along with pain relief medication.

The best of luck with return to work, I have been there, and its not easy, but with some adjustments hopefully you can manage.

Kind Regards, Gina.

Hi, how about half a banana with your first morning cuppa followed by two of your favourite painkillers??? This works for me. Good luck on getting up early and being a teacher - you have my admiration, j

the problem is i hate bananas! looks like that will have to change!

Hi Emsyb

I'm a teacher too, and yes, spent much of last year getting up at 4.30-5am to be ready for a 7.30am departure. In the end I broke, and was so exhausted that I have now been off work since the end of May, and am not going back until at least the end of September.

All I would say is take it easy, and be kind to yourself. You are at a very early point in your illness and treatment, and you need to give your body a chance to work with the drugs. As a teacher, the working day is relentless. None of the advice about pacing yourself applies at all, and the stress is crippling for many healthy people, let alone people who suffer with a disease that is affected by stress. If you're not well enough to go back, then don't go. In the Michael Wilgoveshaw world, you have to be fit to survive. Don't think about the impact on your colleagues, or the children - let other people worry about them. You just concentrate on you, because probably no one else will.

Don't forget that you are covered by the Equality Act, and that you are entitled to discuss reasonable adjustments to make your working life easier.

No idea about bananas though. ;-)

Dotty x


I have purchased a eurotherapy massager, very expensive unfortunately but I find it brilliant in the morning, I tried it out first to see if it worked for me and when it did, I figured what price comfort?. Without it, I couldn't have a shower for at least half an hour after getting out of bed - I couldn't turn the shower on - but this machine is great for loosening up the finger joints and wrists first thing. Five minutes on it and I can function enough to get going.

Good Luck

Thanks for your answers - Dotty it's useful to hear from another teacher - i think i will be getting up at 5am - let's see how will i cope with that... I do have a meeting with my head teacher next monday, so hopefully i can come to some sort of arrangement - for instance on a wednesday, i have 1 lesson all day - i could perhaps stay at home an work - however, i dont know how this is going to affect my pay, hours and so on...

I used to teach, at a university. I found a huge amount of support from some of the students who could see I was struggling to stand through a lecture say. But I imagine that if you need to stand to assert yourself a lot, that could be difficult. I would have found a couple of half days more beneficial than a whole day off. But it depends a lot on your head, or whoever takes the decisions. I'd ask for somewhere comfortable to go to rest at lunchtime. Oh yes and it helps if colleagues realise you have a painful, chronic, disease.

Good luck, cathie

Bananas might help if it was cramps (the potassium in them), but if its just morning stiffness, then I wouldn't bother with the bananas - especially if you don't like them.

What I do when I am really bad, is have my morning NSAID dose by the bed ready to take when I wake up. I take it up to an hour or so before I want to get out of bed, and in that time I do as much gentle moving in bed as I can to start trying to free up my body. Then when it comes down to it, I just have to force myself out. I have a grab rail by the bed that helps, but once up its just a case of keeping on moving slowly until things come right. Sitting down with a heat pad while I have breakfast sometimes helps too.

I used to be the sort of person who could be out of the house on the way to work half an hour after waking up, but not any more - its a good two hours now.

Before you go in for your meeting, it's worth checking out the information on disability and your rights on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website. Their telephone helpline is really helpful too. Your headteacher may be really positive and supportive, but it's still a good idea to know where you stand. Here's the link:

It's also worth asking the head to refer you to Occupational Health, as they may be able to advise you and your headteacher about appropriate adjustments for you. Occupational Health doctors are usually very supportive of the employee, and heads generally listen to them. If they don't, they need to be able to explain why.

I hope next week goes well for you.


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