Why am I stiffer on some days and not others?

Hello

I hope you’re having a good day.

I’ve been diagnosed with OA in hips, back and knee for a little while now. I exercise, stretch etc most days. I garden most days (mulching borders this last week). I have a healthy diet (mostly Mediterranean), have lost half a stone so no longer in the overweight category. I keep as active as possible.

So why am I stiffer on some days? Today being a case in point. I did my exercises this morning, as usual and started pottering about. I noticed I was a bit stiffer, more difficult bending down, or sitting/standing up. I’ve kept going in the garden but couldn’t bend as far as usual and was finding it more difficult to get back up. I feel generally achy in my lower back.

What’s going on? Why does this stiffness happen? Is there anything I can do to reduce it on days like today?

Thanks

Comments

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @KC1,

    I think Arthritis in any of its forms is unpredictable with some sufferers reporting that a change in the weather or something they may have eaten bringing on stiffness or a flare-up. I know in my own case I'm prone to overdoing it on the good days and suffer as a result.

    What to do about it though? I'm lucky in that I only have severe OA in my knees but in any event, my quest is to regulate my condition as much as possible so I get consistency and to do that I follow a fairly strict pain management plan which includes exercise/physio, alternative remedies such as using a TENS machine and Acupuncture, gels/creams and of course diet.

    With specific regard to stiffness, I use a deep tissue massaging gun to sooth muscles and tendons, a wheat bag, FlexiSeq gel, Red Tiger Balm and elasticated knee supports to compress and support which also stop my trousers from getting mucky. As you've got it in your back and hips, a nice hot bath with some deep heat thrown in for good measure might help too. It's a shame it's your back which is causing the most problems because that's a difficult place to reach if you're on your own.

    Hope some of these might help if any are practical in your situation.

    Good luck,

    jon

  • KC1
    KC1 Member Posts: 33


    Thanks Jon

    Your thoughts, advice and suggestions are much appreciated.

    It’s just so strange that things can change so quickly, I’m still trying to get my head around that. Thankfully I’m feeling a little better this evening and hope that I can manage the almost hourly changes each day.

    thanks again

    Karen

  • I’m exactly the same! Sometimes have a run of two or three days where I’m very active and then sometimes suffer for up to a week feeling pain everywhere no matter what I try to do. Diagnosed about 8 years ago with osteoarthritis and then 2 years ago with osteoporosis. Worry that I’ll finish up bent double as my gran did but carry on regardless when I can!

  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 359

    I usually notice being stiffer after an early night, as I was longer in bed. As @jonr says though it's unpredictable. I would be inclined to say, from looking back over non arthritis days, that my stiffness always was variable anyway, its just I notice it more now as its making a more direct impact on mobility.

    I don't walk 3mph any more, I walk 1mph.

    I lessen the impact by taking my time going places, and by pacing my everyday movements out to breathing speed, like they recommend in Tai Chi. This is less painful, at times almost un noticeable.

  • KC1
    KC1 Member Posts: 33

    Thanks Little Boss

    interesting the link with those who came before us and their condition.

    sorry to hear about the osteoporosis- I had a dexa scan a couple of weeks ago. I have the lucky mix of being female, post menopause, coeliac and having to take omeprazole - I take high levels of calcium and vitamin D, eat the rainbow, drink lots of milk, eat yogurt etc to try to counter the obvious risks. Are you on calcium supplements?

    keep going and thanks for the encouragement

    Karen

  • KC1
    KC1 Member Posts: 33

    Thanks Baloo

    the stiffness is just weird. It doesn’t necessarily cause me pain, more discomfort, but it does cause me to overthink my actions and affect my confidence. The usual questions- will I be able to get back up if I bend down or kneel on the floor. Can I manage to put the washing basket on the floor - have to laugh at myself.

    good advice re taking things at a different pace, very helpful, thank you

    stay well

    Karen

  • Fran54
    Fran54 Member Posts: 169

    Hi @KC1

    I find that the stiffness is worse the day after I have perhaps overdone my physio exercises or done too much gardening. I then know that I have to pace myself in what I do for a couple of days until the stiffness eases, although I am always stiff/achy in the morning when I get up. It does help if I do a few gentle stretching exercises before I get up. As for getting up from the floor I do not get down there in the first place! Any exercises being done on the floor I now improvise by lying down on the bed and doing them. Also if I drop things on the floor I have a grabber and as for sweeping/washing the floor I have long handled brushes and mops. After a while you learn to do things in a slightly different way. 🙂

  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 359

    Yes, I think with Tai Chi I am more in tune with the world of stiffness. First your coffee falls off the coffee machine and goes everywhere, so you start clearing it up but your feeling a bit too stiff so its going pretty slow, then you have to put your sox on, I can reach my sox if I take it slow, then the internet stops working and the plugs arent labelled so you put a label on, eventually you can brew up.

    I have to say though my hip and knee stopped aching.

  • KC1
    KC1 Member Posts: 33

    Thanks Fran54 for sharing your ways around various tasks. I did a lot of gardening ahead of my latest stiff day. I think I’m still getting my head around how OA affects me and, if I’m honest, I’m probably still in denial at times.

    I went for a short walk today, I find that more of a challenge now, so frustrating but I’m determined to keep going.

    Maybe me and my bed will need to be even more well acquainted 🤣 so I can get through my exercise routine.

    Thanks again and stay well

  • KC1
    KC1 Member Posts: 33

    Hilarious Baloo 🤣totally brilliant.

    If my arms could just grow a bit putting socks on or tying my laces on wouldn’t be such an issue 😁

  • Fran54
    Fran54 Member Posts: 169

    Hi@KC1

    I see that you have mentioned about putting socks on in the above post. I found that it was getting increasingly harder and I was getting more frustrated at struggling putting on my socks in the morning, then I read somewhere on here about an item I think is called sock/stocking puller upper. I found out that several places stock this item ( My local disability shop and Boots the Chemist ). I bought one from Boots and am so glad that I did as it is so easy to use. Regarding shoe/trainer laces I am finding this increasingly harder but I have bought myself some slip in trainers and they are great. I still have trainers with laces but only wear them when really needed. With the recent warm weather I have been wearing walking shoes and sandals with velcro fasteners. Anything for an easier life! 😊

  • KC1
    KC1 Member Posts: 33

    Thanks Fran54

    i think I probably need to stop fighting myself over some of these things.

    I’m Im going to start a bit of swimming and hydrotherapy in the next couple of weeks. If that doesn’t help I feel a trip to Boots coming on 😂

    i did have some slip on trainers but wore them out so now I just have my lace ups. I’ll see how I get on, have been attempting touching my toes each day - so funny - I may need to go shopping in the not too distant future!

    thanks again for you support and ideas

    karen