Suffering from joint stiffness means having less freedom of movement of the osteo-muscular apparatus, a symptom often accompanied by pain in the joints. The difficulty may concern complex actions, such as sewing or writing. But also trivial. Simple movements, such as flexing a knee or bending an arm. The patient feels awkward, clumsy, unable to produce a fluid and harmonious movement.
The joints, in fact, are anatomical structures of a junction between two bones. Strategic in allowing mutual movement without generating friction. The interposition of cartilage between the surfaces of the bones that make up the joint allows protecting the latter. Furthermore, the production of synovial fluid keeps the joint lubricated. The state of health of the cartilage. And the correct secretion of synovial fluid is the basis of the correct functioning of the joint.
Generally, joint stiffness reaches its maximum intensity upon awakening. To gradually decrease after the start of the movement. The so-called morning stiffness can be counteracted by a hot shower to start the day with.
The joint stiffness is the reduction (or loss) of the possibility of reciprocal movement of the bones that make up a joint.
It can take over due to trauma ( post-traumatic joint stiffness ) or degenerative pathologies, such as arthrosis, or chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
This symptom is particularly frequent in all cases in which the articular cartilage undergoes a phenomenon of wear, associated with the physiological aging of the tissues or with specific diseases. The thinning and the loss of cartilage represent a factor that has repercussions with heavy consequences on joint function and possibilities of movement.
How to combat joint stiffness
To counteract joint stiffness, it is first of all necessary to identify. And treat the pathology that generated it from the clinical point of view. The orthopedic examination and the execution of the diagnostic investigations eventually prescribed by the specialist allow reaching the establishment of a precise diagnosis. And, consequently, to establish the correct therapy. Generally, the tests useful for understanding the clinical picture are blood tests (which can trace the signs of chronic inflammatory disease), radiography and ultrasound.
Secondly, it is possible to use specific physiotherapy. And rehabilitation exercises to recover and maintain the functional capacity of the joint itself. Despite the pain that often accompanies joint stiffness represents a deterrent to movement. This can be a fundamental tool to recover the joint. In general, it is necessary to find the right balance between the rest times that the tissues need to regenerate. And the prevention of further stiffening generated by too long immobilization.
In the rehabilitation and maintenance phase, it is particularly useful to combine controlled movement with the application of over-the-counter drugs for local use based on pain-relieving plant extracts. And with markedly anti-inflammatory action. Among the plants to which it is recognized a beneficial action against joint pain and stiffness, the devil ‘s claw ( Arpagophytum procumbens ), Arnica ( Arnica montana ) and Boswellia ( Boswellia serrata ).
Medical devices are also useful, able to dissolve joint stiffness without releasing. And absorbing drugs, such as patches and self- heating bands. These products cause local vasodilation, with an increase in the flow of oxygen to the tissues. For a faster regeneration also thanks to the greater speed of elimination of waste products of cellular metabolism.
In the case of trauma, it is possible to use skin creams. And foams able to ensure immediate relief from pain by reducing the surface temperature of the part of the body affected by the bruise. The timely application reduces the size of the resulting edema and allows faster recovery.
The use of products of natural origin or acting through lowering. Or raising the local skin temperature allows to cancel or reduce the dosage of anti-inflammatories necessary for pain control, limiting the risk of adverse reactions.