Ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the morning

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are often worse in the morning. Your body releases more of a protein called interleukin-6 into your bloodstream during sleep than when you're awake, which can lead to inflammation in your joints. That's why your joints can feel especially stiff after waking up. You may feel pain along with this stiffness. These symptoms can last a few hours, or you may have them all day.

Stiffness and pain can get in the way of your morning routine. Reduce morning stiffness by starting your day with stretching and flexibility exercises. To make dressing, grooming and preparing for your day easier and less painful, try these tips, too.

Choosing your clothes

  • Wear "easy access" clothing. Select pants, dresses and skirts in a fuller cut with a silky lining so that your joints can easily slip through them.
  • Avoid buttons on clothing. Look for fabric fasteners, elastic waistbands, zipper pulls, and hook-and-eye or zipper closures instead of buttons on pants, skirts, shirts and undergarments.
  • Ask your occupational therapist for tips. He or she can tell you what clothes would put the least amount of stress on your joints.
April 07, 2015 See more In-depth