Some people get up in the morning and feel that their hands and fingers are tight and stiff. They can’t even clench their fists. They gradually ease after a period of activity. What’s the matter? This symptom is called morning stiffness.
What is morning stiffness?
Morning stiffness is a typical manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis. It refers to the long-term stiffness of the diseased joints in the morning after they are still, the stiffness of both hands, and the difficulty of clenching fists, such as the feeling of adhesion. At the same time, it can be accompanied by limb cooling and numbness, which can be gradually reduced after appropriate activities.
The duration of morning stiffness should be calculated from the time when the patient wakes up and starts to move until the patient’s morning stiffness is obviously relieved. It is usually calculated in minutes.
Why does morning stiffness appear?
The cause of morning stiffness is due to the accumulation of edema in inflammatory tissue when sleep or exercise is reduced, which makes the tissue around the joint swell. After the patient’s activity, with the contraction of muscles, the edema is absorbed by lymphatic vessels and venules, and morning stiffness is also relieved. Therefore, as long as the activity of the affected joint is reduced or maintained in the same position for a long time, joint stiffness may also occur during the day, which is in fact the same thing as morning stiffness.
The duration of morning stiffness is directly proportional to the severity of synovitis.
With the remission of rheumatoid arthritis, the duration of morning stiffness is shortened and the degree is reduced. Therefore, morning stiffness is a good mapping to judge the severity of systemic inflammation. Therefore, the improvement of morning stiffness time in patients with rheumatoid arthritis is also the basis for professional rheumatologists to evaluate the patient’s condition.
How to relieve morning stiffness?
For patients with definite diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, early onset of joint stiffness lasting more than 30 minutes is regarded as morning stiffness. It is suggested that the active stage of rheumatoid arthritis should be treated actively to control inflammation and improve the condition, so as to reduce joint damage.
1. In acute active stage, standardized medication is the main treatment, the affected joints should rest, maintain the functional position of each joint, and try to reduce the long-term excessive flexion of each joint, so as to reduce pain and avoid deformity.
2. The patients in remission stage are mainly passive or small range active joint movement training, each joint is done abduction, adduction, flexion, internal rotation, external rotation, such as finger exercises.
Action 1: up and down hand; action 2: left and right hand; action 3: one by one finger; action 4: clench the fist flat.
(Hou Xiujuan, Liu Xiaoping, Department of Rheumatology, Dongfang Hospital, Beijing University of traditional Chinese Medicine)