Morning stiffness


With the concept of Morning stiffness is the description of a Symptoms, which can occur in a number of different diseases.

Especially Joint disease are associated with pronounced morning stiffness. After a long period of rest, such as in the morning after getting up, the joints of people with the symptom are less flexible than usual. In the course of the day or with increased joint movement, the extent of the symptoms decreases.

Especially with diseases such as osteoarthritis or with rheumatism (Rheumatoid arthritis) morning stiffness is a common symptom.


Morning stiffness can occur in a number of different conditions. Morning stiffness is a well-known symptom, especially with certain joint diseases.

The reasons for the appearance of morning stiffness are usually due to active inflammation in the joint. The so-called cortisone level, i.e. a certain hormone in the body, falls at night, which leads to an increased inflammatory reaction in the body. Less mobility and greater joint pain in the morning are the result of the nightly inflammatory reactions. During the day, the cortisone level rises and the body's own inflammatory processes are inhibited by the hormone. This also reduces the discomfort when moving during the day.

Inflammatory processes in the joints can be caused by a number of different diseases. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in particular are among the typical diseases with the symptom of morning stiffness. With osteoarthritis of the joint, there is wear and tear and thus an inflammatory reaction of the joints. The causes for the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis are largely unexplained, although an autoimmune cause is likely. The morning stiffness in rheumatism is generally much more pronounced than is the case with osteoarthritis. Depending on which joints are affected, morning stiffness can severely limit everyday life.

Read more on the subject at:

  • Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Cause rheumatoid arthritis
    such as
  • Symptoms of Osteoarthritis.

Another reason for morning stiffness can be Hormonal changes in the course of Menopause be. During menopause, this hormonal change leads to a number of different symptoms (see: Menopause symptoms), which can be perceived differently by every woman. In these cases, morning stiffness affects both the joints and, in particular, the muscles. So, muscle pain is common and can become one during menopause limited mobility of joints and muscles.

In rare cases you can also neurological diseases lead to morning stiffness. Especially here comes the so-called multiple sclerosis (MS) into consideration. In this chronic inflammatory disease, the isolation of the nerves running in the central nervous system is impaired. The Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can vary widely from person to person and also include morning stiffness and pain in muscles and joints. Still, it is one relatively rare disease, which is why when morning stiffness occurs, multiple sclerosis does not have to be considered immediately.


In addition to a wide variety of complaints, joint pain can also arise during menopause. These express themselves in their symptoms similar to osteoarthritis or arthritis (joint inflammation). Those affected can also suffer from morning stiffness.

The joint problems are explained by the drop in estrogen levels during menopause. Estrogens play an important role in blood circulation and the build-up of collagen. The lack of effect of estrogen leads to a lack of collagen and hardening of the joint surface, which promotes the development of pain and discomfort. In addition, estrogens promote the release of happiness hormones, which suppress the sensation of pain. This mechanism also regresses due to the lack of estrogen. Hormone preparations are used to relieve symptoms during menopause.

You might also be interested in this topic: Medication for menopause

Concomitant symptoms

Morning stiffness is a symptom that, like most diseases, does not occur alone. Depending on the underlying disease, morning stiffness is usually accompanied by other symptoms, which together can provide the overall picture of the disease.

As a rule, inflammatory diseases of the joints (see: Arthritis) are the cause of morning stiffness. These diseases are often accompanied by pain in the joints. Swelling and redness as well as overheating of the affected area can also occur.

If rheumatism is responsible for the occurrence of morning stiffness, tendinitis and paresthesia as well as hand pain are relatively common. Since rheumatism is a disease that is not necessarily limited to the joints, symptoms in other organs can also occur.

The other accompanying symptoms can help the attending physician, in addition to a number of other diagnostic examinations, to find out which illness could be responsible for the individually occurring morning stiffness.

Morning stiffness and muscle pain

If morning stiffness occurs and is accompanied by muscle pain, there can be a number of different causes. Which of the possible causes applies to the individual case can only be found out through detailed diagnostic examinations and tests, which is why a doctor should be consulted if these symptoms are noticed.

If it comes to morning stiffness and muscle pain, the onset of a so-called rheumatic disease could be behind the symptoms. Since rheumatism can affect not only the joints, but also the muscles and other organs, the possible symptoms of the disease are diverse.

The onset of menopause can also be behind the sudden onset of morning stiffness and the occurrence of muscle pain. In this case, a hormonal change in the body causes the symptoms, which should improve after the body has adjusted to the changes.

In rare cases, a neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis can also be the cause of the symptoms.

Morning stiffness on hands / fingers

Morning stiffness can in principle every joint of the body. Depending on the disease, different parts of the body are typical for pronounced morning stiffness. This is how the complaints join rheumatism often at that first small jointssuch as the finger joints.
In the arthrosis however, it is typical that the large joints how the hip or knee are affected.

Morning stiffness, which occurs mainly in the hand and fingers, is therefore typical for the presence of a Rheumatoid arthritis. To be sure that this is the disease or that another cause is responsible for the symptoms, a doctor should be consulted for further clarification.

Morning stiffness of the feet

Morning stiffness can appear in many different parts of the body. Depending on which part of the body is affected, the examining doctor can help determine which disease is present in the individual case. Such is a morning stiffness, which increases in the small joints as occurs on the hands or on the feet, typical for the presence of rheumatism (Rheumatoid arthritis), while morning stiffness in large joints such as the knee is more typical of osteoarthritis.

Morning stiffness in the feet thus often depends on the presence of a Rheumatism disease together. To be sure that rheumatism is the cause of the symptoms, a doctor should be consulted for further clarification.

Morning stiffness of the hip

Morning stiffness of certain joints can appear in most parts of the body. The exact localization of the symptoms gives an initial indication of which disease is the cause of the morning stiffness.

Symptoms that occur in the hip can often be associated with a arthrosis be associated. To find out if morning stiffness in the hip is a symptom of a Hip arthrosis a doctor should be consulted for further diagnosis.

Morning stiffness in the muscles

Muscle pain or a stiff feeling in the muscles is common during menopause. But rheumatic diseases can also cause discomfort in the muscles.
A stiff feeling or heaviness in the muscles can also occur in fibromyalgia.Fibromyalgia is a chronic fatigue and pain syndrome.

Read more on the topic: Fibromyalgia

Morning stiffness in the back

Other joints tend to be more stiff in the morning than the back. In the case of various diseases, however, the back can become stiff in the morning. First of all, there are rheumatic diseases that affect the back.

Bechterew's disease is classic. With Bechterew's disease, the spinal column becomes ossified over the years, so that it becomes more and more rigid and its mobility is severely restricted. Morning stiffness in the back can also occur during menopause. In addition, osteoarthritis can also be responsible for the morning stiffness in the back.

Also read the article on the topic: ankylosing spondylitis

Morning stiffness in the Achilles tendon

Achilles tendonitis is a typical injury experienced by athletes. It arises when this tendon is subjected to intense and unusual stress. With Achilles tendonitis, a certain stiffness and immobility in the morning is not unusual. During the nocturnal rest phase, the Achilles tendon swell due to the regeneration process. The swelling causes the morning stiffness and immobility.

Other complaints are pain when exercising. The start-up pain is typical. The pain is stronger at the beginning of the training and then slowly subsides. However, the pain reappears after training. If the Achilles tendon is inflamed, training should first be paused. When training is resumed, the correct technique and load should be observed so as not to overload the Achilles tendon again.

Read more on the topic: Achilles tendonitis

Rheumatoid arthritis

As with many other rheumatic diseases, morning stiffness is typical of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints. The joints of the hands, feet and fingers are particularly affected. In addition to fatigue and general unspecific complaints, swelling and pain occur in the affected joints.

The joints feel particularly stiff in the morning. One speaks of the morning stiffness. This morning stiffness lasts for about half an hour, but it can also last longer. Various drugs can reduce the symptoms and counteract the progression of the disease. The natural course over years without taking medication often leads to destruction of the joints and deformities.

For more information, see: Rheumatoid arthritis


Morning stiffness can occur with osteoarthritis. However, morning stiffness is usually not as pronounced as in rheumatic diseases. The basis of the complaints lies in the wear and tear of the joint surface. Over time and the strain, the cartilage layer on the joints, which is partly responsible for their smooth movements, is reduced. T

Typical of osteoarthritis is that the symptoms at the beginning of a movement, e.g. of walking are strongest. One speaks of the so-called starting pain. The symptoms decrease with the duration of the movement.

Read more on the topic: arthrosis


The duration of morning stiffness is different. In rheumatic diseases, you can expect morning stiffness to last for half an hour. But longer is also not atypical. The symptoms, such as morning stiffness, can be reduced.

Medication can also shorten the duration. In the case of osteoarthritis and joint pain during the menopause, the morning stiffness tends to be less pronounced and tends to be shorter in duration. A duration of more than half an hour is rather rare.

Therapy of morning stiffness

The therapy for morning stiffness depends on the underlying disease. For this reason, no general recommendation can be given as to how the symptom of morning stiffness can be treated. If symptoms are noticed, a visit to a doctor is recommended to determine the reason for the symptoms and to initiate appropriate therapy.

The options for treating the diseases that are responsible for the symptom are also very different. As a rule, however, the therapies are based on one Anti-inflammatory, since the inflammation of the joints is the cause of the symptom of morning stiffness in the majority of cases.

Anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDS how Ibuprofen or Diclofenac are therefore the basic medication for typical diseases such as rheumatism or osteoarthritis, which are often responsible for morning stiffness.

If it's a Autoimmune disease acts, especially rheumatoid arthritis, can also drugs that suppress the immune system be taken. So puts the so-called Cortisol an important part of the therapy for morning stiffness in rheumatism.


A homeopathic remedy that is said to help against morning stiffness is Cimicifuga racemosa. It is targeted for women who suffer from joint problems during menopause. For rheumatism, among other things, Ledum can be used for treatment. However, there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

Can you influence morning stiffness through diet?

The influence of diet on morning stiffness is limited. For morning stiffness due to inflammation, such as those caused by rheumatic diseases, there are some general pieces of advice to help the body fight the inflammation. First of all, it is important to pay attention to a balanced diet so that the body is supplied with all nutrients.

Rheumatism diets are not advisable. There is a risk that they are too one-sided. In addition, you should tend to avoid foods containing arachidonic acid or only consume them in limited quantities. Arachidonic acid is used by the body to produce messenger substances that promote inflammation. However, the body can produce arachidonic acid itself. There is hope that with a reduced intake, the body will produce fewer inflammatory substances. Arachidonic acid is found in animal products such as meat and dairy products. Studies have shown that the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid has a positive effect on rheumatic diseases. It is very much found in fish, for example. But various oils, such as linseed oil and walnut oil, also contain eicosapentaenoic acid.