Why Do Your Joints Feel Stiff And Achy In The Morning?

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For some adults, the aging process isn't always easy or graceful, especially when your joints stiffen up and ache in the morning. Your stiff, achy joints can make it difficult to rise from bed or get ready for the day. Your symptoms could be signs of arthritis. To help you understand why your joints hurt, here are things to know about arthritis and what you can do to treat it.

Why Do Your Joints Hurt?

Although your joints experience some wear and tear as you age, the tissues shouldn't throb, ache, or stiffen up every morning with intense pain. These symptoms often indicate joint inflammation. Joint inflammation can be caused by a lack of synovial fluid or thin cartilage, which are signs of arthritis.

Synovial fluid is a thick liquid that keeps joints moist, healthy, and flexible. In younger, healthier joints, synovial fluid is plentiful. But as you become older, your synovial fluid begins to dry up. The less synovial fluid joints have, the less flexible they become. Your joints might creak or crack when you rise from bed in the morning. Some people's joints even creak when they bend or stoop.

Your symptoms can also develop from thin cartilage. Cartilage is the thick, rubbery connective tissue that prevents friction or irritation between your joints when you move. The connective tissue absorbs and stores synovial fluid until your joints need it. When cartilage wear down or thin out, it can't store enough synovial fluid to lubricate your joints. Synovial fluid can build up around your joints and cause swelling.

You can find answers and relief from you symptoms by seeing a primary care doctor.

What Can You Do About Your Joints?

A primary care doctor can usually detect inflammation just by looking at your joints. For instance, your knees can appear swollen and red. Physically touching your knees may cause you significant pain. If a doctor can't find visible signs of arthritis, they can use X-rays, bone scans, and CT scans to detect it. The diagnostic tools may reveal deteriorated areas of cartilage as well as worn bone tissue. 

Some doctors use special tests to examine the synovial fluid in your joints. The tests may reveal changes in the fluid's thickness, color, and consistency. Testing can also reveal the contents of your synovial fluid. Joint fluid can contain uric acid and other chemicals that only occur during times of inflammation. 

Your treatment may include taking anti-inflammatory drugs to control your symptoms in the morning. If possible, you may need surgery to repair the damage to your joints. This is something a primary care doctor can discuss with you during your visit.

To find out more about your joint problems, contact a primary care doctor, like one from Port City Pediatrics, today.