It’s more common with each year…and a common problem and question I hear: “Why are my joints stiff when I wake up?” and “What can I do for morning stiffness?”
While it’s common, it’s not inevitable that you have to just live with it. While normal healthy, spongy cartilage can become dry with time, age alone does not bring stiffness.
It can result from different sources of inflammation, such as:
- Dehydration (leads to less synovial fluid in your joints and cartilage dries out)
- Toxic build up in your body
- Low stem cell supply & activity
- Eating sugar
- Eating dairy
- Tight muscles
- Eating gluten (especially if you’re sensitive to it and aren’t aware yet)
- Thyroid problems
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Arthritis (RA, OA, AS – read on for more info on this)
Tips that can help:
- STRETCH: As you age, stretching becomes more and more important. In fact, stretching becomes even more important than exercise! It is VERY IMPORTANT that you develop a daily habit of You can stretch from standing position, seated or on the floor.
- HYDRATE!: Strive to drink purified water – how much? A good rule of thumb for quantity in an average day is to divide your body weight in half, & drink that many ounces. Increase this amount in hot weather, if you exercise, take a sauna, if you are constipated or
- SUPPLEMENT MINERALS: Add trace minerals to your daily water intake (my favorites are 1. CT-Minerals and pH Minerals and– these are excellent!) Electrolytes are trace minerals and your cells cannot absorb water without them. I find most people are mineral deficient, so this becomes one of the most important things to supplement in your diet.
- CLEAN DIET: Everything in your body will work better and feel better if you avoid sugar and chemical sugar substitutes. Sugar is an acid and acidifies your blood and body. It causes inflammation in joints, muscles, brain…everywhere. It drains your energy. It’s just plain bad for you. Instead, use natural sweeteners like monk fruit, stevia, honey and maple syrup – you’ll feel so much better!
- INCREASE STEM CELLS: Cartilage is famously slow to heal. This is because it has possibly the lowest amount of blood flow reaching it in your body. We can’t have blood vessels running through joints, being squished and smashed and stretched – they wouldn’t last a So joints and cartilage rely on nearby blood flow to deliver the nutrients, oxygen, and (hopefully) stem cells needed to heal.
Stem cells decrease with age, and by age 70 are pretty much used up and gone. The best news in years is that you can easily stimulate your body to make more, with light frequency! These photo therapy patches increase copper peptides and stem cells and are an affordable option to stem cell therapy. See HERE.
- ARTHRITIS: Is it arthritis? What type? How long your stiffness lasts is a clue to if and what type of arthritis you may
- If stiffness resolves after just a few minutes of movement in the morning, it’s probably osteoarthritis. This is the most common type, and usually the result of physical damage to cartilage from normal wear and tear or athletic activity. (This can be helped with photo therapy stem cell activation )
- If your stiffness lasts an hour or longer, it may be an inflammatory type of arthritis, which includes:
- RA – Rheumatoid Arthritis (can feel it in any joint but common in hands, wrists, elbows, knees, feet)
- AS – Ankylosing Spondylitis (usually stiffness in spine, hips, knees, low back)
- PsA – Psoriatic Arthritis (inflammation in fingers & toes that reduces mobility, inflammation where tendons and ligaments connect to bones)
These inflammatory forms of arthritis are identifiable by x-ray. They usually worsen with longer hours of sleep (not moving), and dissipate with heat (shower, sauna) or light exercise.
These are also autoimmune conditions and can be helped by reducing your inflammation triggers in diet, infections, and removing toxins by active detox. (Join my group detox in January! Details forthcoming.)
- REMOVE TOXINS: I define a “toxin” as anything that is in your body that doesn’t belong Because if it doesn’t belong, your immune system will take action… and that’s inflammation. Immune system activity IS inflammation. Often it’s necessary and good. But in the case of toxins, which can get stuck in your body, inflammation will be active as long as toxins remain. And the more toxins, the more inflammation. Also, some toxins are worse than others in creating more inflammation. Black mold is a nasty toxin, for example – a true health destroyer.
- It is impossible to live in the world today and not accumulate toxins. They’re in our air, water, food, hair products, fragrances. They’re sprayed on the grass. Eating organic is great, but it doesn’t shield you from your products or For these reasons, I believe everyone needs a good thorough detox on a regular basis (at least once a year) deep and long enough to remove these long-held
- Join me for the best detox you’ll ever do – coming in January! This group detox guided by me, makes it more affordable and more
- DAIRY & GLUTEN: no one wants to hear this, but it’s true – allergy or not, these foods drive inflammation. Some people are more sensitive to them than others. If you do experience morning stiffness, try 1-3 months gluten free and dairy free – you may be surprised the difference it can make!
- THYROID: Hypothyroid, or having low levels of T3 will under-activate your cells which affects every part of your body, and this can contribute to stiffness. There’s much more to be said on this topic, which I’ll address in a different email and blog post. I run a complete thyroid panel (includes up to 12 markers) to see how your thyroid is functioning in your
- FIBROMYALGIA: It’s the diagnosis no one wants, a non-specific, catch-all for chronic aches and I always look for toxic mold exposure and Lyme infection with these people. Then we reduce inflammation, detox, and support the immune system to help people feel better.
- OBESITY: This is a condition that will affect everything – your metabolism, liver, brain, joints, musculoskeletal system, nervous system, your energy, your immune system…
- And, obesity does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. But one thing I see consistently with obesity: inflammation due to toxins which interfere with metabolism and immune system. In order to improve hormone balance and metabolism, these interferences have to
- Clean diet (whole foods, not packaged or prepared foods, and low or no sugar), and a deep detox for at least 3 months goes a long way. Eat all the vegetables you want if they grow above ground, eat fruit in moderation and un-processed proteins. The fewer preservatives the
- VITAMIN D: sunshine is definitely best, but if you live North of Phoenix and Dallas, you’ll need to supplement October – Maybe longer if you’re further North.
- I recommend getting a blood test to see what your level is. From a functional perspective, ideal for Vitamin D, 25-OH is 80-90 (ng/mL).
- I prefer vitamin D supplements which include vitamin K2 and other co-factors needed to absorb and utilize them. My favorites are Vit. D3 Lq available here and D3K2 available Vitamin D3/K2 -1.7oz (mhpvitamins.com)
- GLUCOSAMINE: it’s naturally occurring in your body, but you can supplement it. This compound helps to make the fluid in your joints (synovial fluid) thicker and more viscous to reduce friction between cartilage covered bone surfaces in
William Kormos, M.D.: “What Are My Joints Stiff in the morning? Harvard Health Publishing
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