Is It Normal to Have Stiff Joints After Sitting?

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If you experience stiffness in your joints after sitting for a long time, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This is a pervasive issue that many people face. While there are some things you can do to help alleviate the stiffness, it’s essential to understand that it’s usually nothing to be concerned about. Keep reading to learn more!

sitting stiff neck

As a general rule, stiff joints after sitting is not normal and this symptom suggests underlying health problems. Degenerative joint disease, gout, bursitis, lupus, and arthritis cause joint stiffness in Atlanta. Other lifestyle factors such as diet, weight, and exercise can also affect mobility and stiffness.

In this article, I will give you reasons why you may have stiff joints after sitting, based on my 30 years of advising, treating patients with similar problems, exploring, and designing simple solutions (even a successful Kickstarter campaign!), and even published a book on this subject. 

How Do I Stop Stiffness as I Age?

As we age, our bodies change, and we may experience new aches and pains. One common complaint is stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after sitting for long periods. While it’s normal to feel some stiffness as you age, there are things you can do to help reduce it.

old person stiff back

One way to help reduce stiffness is to stay active and move your body regularly. This helps keep your joints and muscles loose and flexible. Regular exercise also strengthens the muscles around your joints, which can help support them and reduce pain.

If you’re already experiencing stiffness, you can do a few things to help ease the discomfort. First, try gently stretching or moving around before getting out of bed in the morning. This can help loosen up your muscles and joints, so you don’t feel as stiff when you start moving around.

If stiffness persists throughout the day, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. Applying heat or ice to the affected area can also provide some relief. If these home remedies don’t seem to be helping, you should see your doctor rule out any other underlying health issues.

Why Is My Body So Tight and Stiff?

One common cause of tightness and stiffness is dehydration. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it can feel dry, irritated, and inflamed. This can lead to muscle cramps, aches, and pains. Ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and avoid stiffness and pain.

young woman back stiffness

As a general rule, the most common reason people may feel tightness and stiffness in their bodies is poor posture. Your muscles and joints can become strained over time if you are constantly slouching or sitting in an unnatural position. This can lead to pain, discomfort, and a feeling of tightness and stiffness. Improving your posture is one of the best ways to reduce tension in your body and keep your muscles and joints healthy.

If you are into super easy and inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fantastic article on how and why you should consider these options for back pain, and I encourage you to read it!

The most common cause of body stiffness is poor sitting posture, according to my professional experience. My patients benefit from the following simple fix that I prescribe:

Ergonomic Seat Cushion

Using an orthopedic seat wedge, you can move your spine into an optimal position while engaging your core muscles as you sit. That sounds easy, right? Of course, it is!

seat cushion piriformis

Orthopedic seat wedges are the solution. With a sitting wedge, you will have a better sitting surface, and your upper leg will be at a higher angle than your torso. Although wedge chairs offer a more comfortable sitting experience, you’ll still need to sit upright while using them.

I explain the concept of an orthopedic seat cushion on a TV show HERE!

If appropriately used, wedge chairs will keep you upright. In your lower spine, your forward tilt improves the inward curve. Your spine will be under less stress as you sit upright, distributing your weight naturally and preventing stress on your joints, discs, and ligaments.

I was surprised how similar cheap memory foam seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!

What Causes Stiffness in Legs After Sitting?

In general, if you are experiencing stiffness in your legs after sitting, it is essential to try and identify what is causing it. If you can identify the cause, you may be able to treat it and reduce or eliminate the stiffness. However, if you are unable to identify the cause, it is vital to see a doctor so that they can rule out any underlying medical conditions.

man uncomfortable car

A few different things can cause stiffness in the legs after sitting for some time. One possibility is that the muscles in the legs have become tightened from sitting in the same position for too long. Another possibility is that the joints in the legs have become stiff from not being moved around. Finally, it is also possible that an underlying medical condition is causing the stiffness.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

What Is the Best Vitamin or Supplement for Joint Pain?

Many different supplements on the market claim to be helpful for joint pain. But which ones are supported by science? Here are some of the most effective vitamins and supplements for joint pain relief, according to studies:

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a substance that naturally occurs in the body, and it’s responsible for keeping the joints lubricated. supplementing with hyaluronic acid has been shown to reduce joint pain and improve joint function (1).

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and it’s also thought to help reduce inflammation. One study found that vitamin D3 supplementation effectively reduced joint pain and improved quality of life in people with knee osteoarthritis (2).

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is another vitamin that’s important for bone health. It’s also been shown to reduce inflammation and improve joint function in people with osteoarthritis.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. One study found that curcumin was as effective as ibuprofen in reducing joint pain and improving joint function in people with osteoarthritis.

Ginger

Ginger is another herb with potent anti-inflammatory properties.

What Are Usually the First Signs of Fibromyalgia?

fibromyalgia pain

The first signs of fibromyalgia are often widespread pain and fatigue. These symptoms can start gradually or suddenly and vary in intensity from day to day. Many people with fibromyalgia also have sleep problems, morning stiffness, headache, and memory or concentration issues. There is no one test used to diagnose fibromyalgia, so doctors usually rely on a person’s symptoms and history to make a diagnosis.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it is thought to be related to changes in how the brain processes pain signals. Research suggests that genetic and environmental factors may cause fibromyalgia.

What Does Joint Stiffness Feel Like?

As a general rule, joint stiffness is often described as a feeling of tightness, discomfort, or pain in one or more joints. The stiffness may make moving the affected joint(s) difficult. Joint stiffness can be caused by several conditions, including arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and gout.

Treatment for joint stiffness will vary depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, simple home remedies such as heat therapy and stretching may be all that is needed to relieve symptoms. In other cases, more aggressive treatment such as physical therapy or medication may be necessary.

Why Do I Wake Up Sore and Stiff Every Morning?

One of the most common questions is, “Why do I wake up sore and stiff every morning?” While there can be many reasons for this, one of the most common is simply not getting enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have time to repair itself from the day’s activities. This can lead to soreness and stiffness when you wake up.

There are a few things you can do to help ensure you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This means going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down from the day. This could include reading, taking a warm bath, or stretching.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool, promoting better sleep.
  • Limit your caffeine intake and avoid drinking it late in the day.
  • Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed.

If you find that you’re still waking up sore and stiff despite following these tips, it’s essential to see a doctor to rule out any other potential causes.

What Is Lupus Joint Pain Like?

lupus pain

As a general rule, lupus pain is often described as a deep, aching pain that feels like it is coming from the bone. The pain is often worse with movement, making it very difficult to perform everyday tasks. Lupus joint pain can also accompany swelling, stiffness, and redness. In severe cases, lupus joint pain can lead to joint damage and deformity. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.  Lupus joint pain can be pretty debilitating.

Is Walking Good for Stiff Knees?

As a general rule, walking is usually good for stiff knees. Walking helps to lubricate the joints, which can help to reduce stiffness and pain. Walking also helps to strengthen the muscles around the joints, which can help to support them and reduce strain. If you have stiff knees, start with short walks and gradually increase the distance and intensity as your knees allow.

woman sitting with knee pain

Always check with your health practitioner before physical activities if you suffer from stiff knees.

How Can I Naturally Lubricate My Joints?

Joints are lubricated by a type of fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid is produced by the synovium, the membrane surrounding joints. The primary function of synovial fluid is to reduce friction between bones and keep joints moving smoothly.

There are several ways that you can naturally lubricate your joints and keep them healthy. One way is to eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. They are also found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and protect against joint damage.

Another way to naturally lubricate your joints is to take supplements that contain hyaluronic acid. This acid is found in the synovial fluid and helps to keep it thick and viscous. It also helps to reduce inflammation and protect against joint damage.

Eggshell membrane is another natural supplement that can help to lubricate your joints. Eggshell membrane contains collagen, which is a major component of synovial fluid. Collagen helps to keep the fluid thick and viscous, which reduces friction between bones and keeps joints moving smoothly.

How Do You Loosen Stiff Joints?

In general, you can do a few things to help loosen stiff joints. First, try some gentle stretching exercises. You can also massage the affected area with a warm, wet cloth. If these methods don’t work, you may need to see a doctor or physical therapist for further treatment.

How Do You Loosen up a Stiff Knee?

You can do a few things to loosen up a stiff knee. Try these simple methods:

  • Take a hot bath or use a heating pad. The heat will help relax the muscles and ease the pain.
  • Try ice therapy. Put an ice pack on your knee for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat this several times throughout the day.
  • Exercise your leg muscles. Strong muscles help support your joints and can reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Stretch your hamstrings and quadriceps. These are the large muscles in the front and back of your thigh. Stretching them can help take some of the pressure off your knees.
  • Wear supportive shoes.

What Causes a Stiff Knee After Sitting?

man with knee pain

There are many possible causes of a stiff knee after sitting, including:

Arthritis: 

Arthritis is a common cause of stiffness and pain in the knee joint. There are many different types of arthritis, but all can cause inflammation and damage to the knee joint.

Bursitis: 

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, a small sac of fluid that helps cushion the knee joint. Bursitis can be caused by overuse or injury.

Gout: 

Gout is arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the body, causing crystals to form in the joints. Gout can cause sudden, severe pain episodes and swell in the affected area.

Summary

So, if you experience stiffness in your joints after sitting for a long time, don’t worry – it’s normal! You can do some things to help alleviate the discomfort, but most of the time, it’s nothing to be concerned about. Thanks for reading – I hope this article was helpful.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about why your stomach is flat until you sit down, and here are some of the shocking issues I ran into in this post!

 

Sources:

  1. Stephens, A., Munir, S., Shah, S. and Walter, W.L., 2015. The kinematic relationship between sitting and standing posture and pelvic inclination and its significance to cup positioning in total hip arthroplasty. International orthopaedics39(3), pp.383-388.
  2. Ballinger, J., 2022. What Are the causes of Stiff Joints and how to manage it?.
  3. Peeters, G.G., Burton, N.W. and Brown, W.J., 2013. Associations between sitting time and a range of symptoms in mid-age women. Preventive Medicine56(2), pp.135-141.
  4. Hamstra-Wright, K.L., Swanik, C.B., Ennis, T.Y. and Swanik, K.A., 2005. Joint stiffness and pain in individuals with patellofemoral syndrome. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy35(8), pp.495-501.
  5. Fryer, S., Stone, K., Paterson, C., Brown, M., Faulkner, J., Lambrick, D., Credeur, D., Zieff, G., Martinez Aguirre-Betolaza, A. and Stoner, L., 2021. Central and peripheral arterial stiffness responses to uninterrupted prolonged sitting combined with a high-fat meal: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Hypertension Research44(10), pp.1332-1340.
  6. Abeles, A.M., Pillinger, M.H., Solitar, B.M. and Abeles, M., 2007. Narrative review: the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia. Annals of internal medicine146(10), pp.726-734.
  7. Malak, K., 2004. Fibromyalgia. Canadian Pharmacists Journal137(5), p.11.
  8. Askanase, A., Shum, K. and Mitnick, H., 2012. Systemic lupus erythematosus: an overview. Social work in health care51(7), pp.576-586.
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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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