Living With Chronic Pain: Tips On Managing Morning Stiffness

When you have chronic pain, mornings can be incredibly rough.

How rough do you say?

Well getting out of bed can look similar to this:


Stiff joints and achy muscles can make movement in the morning very uncomfortable and sometimes if the pain is too intense, it can almost be impossible. While medication can help manage this type of pain, there are other things that you can do to help reduce the pain you experience. Everyone is different so feel free try the following tips and see which ones help you:

1. Heat

According to the Arthritis Foundation

“Heat enhances circulation, delivering nutrients to joints and muscles. It’s good for getting your body limber and ready for exercise or activity.”

Heating pads, water bottles, and activated heat packs

These are great and inexpensive ways to deliver warmth to specific areas of pain and can be kept at the bedside.

*Tip:  Set your alarm clock 20 minutes prior to your regular wake up time. When you wake up, apply your heating pad to your problem area and allow it to work it’s magic for 20 minutes while you rest. Make sure to set your alarm clock or set a timer to notify you when the 20 minutes is up!

Yes, getting up an extra 20 minutes may seem like a nuisance but it is extremely helpful in the morning and it will become a habit.

Take a warm shower or bath


Taking a 10 minute warm shower or bath in the morning will help loosen joints and release muscle spasms.

2. Stretches

Stretching our muscles is so important. It helps to increase muscle control, flexibility and improves our range of motion. The great thing is, you can even do your stretches without even getting out of your bed. You can do it right after you apply your heat!

We highly recommend that you utilize your physical therapist, chiropractor, and doctors! Ask them if they can provide you with a list of stretches that is tailored specifically for your and even ask them to demonstrate them for you. It’s important that you do them correctly because even though stretching may seem like it’s an easy thing to do, you can injure yourself. So be careful!

If you don’t have a physical therapist, there are stretches on the internet but again, before you attempt any sort of stretches, make sure that you consult your doctor to make sure that these are right for you

Here are some stretches I found that you can try in bed.

PopSugar Bed Stretches

Rise And Shine: 8 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning

5 Morning Stretches You Can Do In Bed – Fitness By Patty


3. Take Your Medications

At night, put a dose of pain medication and a glass of water on your nightstand. (If you have little ones or animals, make sure that you keep them in a child safe pill bottle and out of their reach and sight!). Set your alarm clock for an hour before your usual wake-up time.

When the alarm goes off in the morning, take the pain medication. If you are also planning on using heat, you can also do this at the same time! Then re-set your alarm for your usual wake-up time.


4. Keep Your Body Moving

Staying active can reduce the amount of time it takes to relieve stiffness. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym! By simply taking short 15 or 20 minutes walks a day, you can help strengthen the muscles that support your joints.

No gym membership is required!

Maybe you have a little one that you can walk to school with? Maybe you have a dog that you could take for a quick walk down the street? Even walking around your house in short burst counts! You can even try enlisting the company of a neighbor or your spouse or a friend. Walking with someone is a good motivator and if you need assistance, you will have someone with you!

In the winter it can be difficult to get around with all the snow and not to mention that it’s absolutely cold out. If you don’t have a treadmill at home or a gym membership, a lot of shopping centers are open early so you can walk around the warmed halls!

You don't need to walk that fast!
You don’t need to walk that fast!

5. Drink Lots of Water

We’ve talked about the benefits of water. It helps to lubricate and cushion the bones and joints. It also helps to flush out toxins that could be adding to your pain. You can read more about our water post by clicking below:


6. Check The Temperature Of Your Room

A room that is too cold will add to morning stiffness so keep your room at a comfortable temperature.

In the winter, check for drafty windows, especially if your bed is right next to one.

Here are some quick budget fixes for drafty windows:

Budget Fixes For Drafty Windows | This Old House

And you can most definitely add more blankets.


7. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep plays a huge role in healthy living. When you’re stressed and tossing and turning, or maybe the bed is too hard or soft, or maybe the pain is already too much to bear before falling asleep,  you’re not getting a deep restful sleep. We wrote about ways in which you can achieve a good night’s sleep here:

download (2)


Morning pain and stiffness can make mornings incredibly difficult but we hope that these tips can help you ease out of bed and into your routines a bit better.


Is there anything that you do in the morning that helps your chronic pain and helps you get out of bed easier? We would love to hear your tips below!



6 thoughts on “Living With Chronic Pain: Tips On Managing Morning Stiffness

  1. This is an excellent list. I struggle with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. I don’t currently work outside of the home. I had back surgery and haven’t been released to attempt to try work again. I am currently freelancing. I plan on trying to heat on my knees.


    1. We hope that these can help you!
      If you are ever interested in writing for us, we’d love to have you! There’s a contact form to fill out on the main page 🙂
      Getting back into the work force is really hard I (Kim) have been off for quite some time. I have chronic pain (back, osteoarthritis and some funky autoimmune thing that they are trying to figure out) and bipolar disorder and anxiety. Writing has been my saving grace.
      As for your knees — have you ever tried (and can you?) Voltaren gel? Not sure if that would be a suitable thing for you. I started to have problems with my hips and at first they thought it was arthritis, then they said it was bursitis, now they think I have some funky genetic thing — anyways, I use this gel and it does help alleviate some of the stiffness. It has NSAID in it so you have to be careful if you are currently taking it by mouth (like Motrin, advil, etc.)
      Anyways, I hope that things start turning up with the weather. Again, if you ever want to write for us, we’d love to have you!!!
      Kim 🙂


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