Top 6 Causes Of Stiff Joints After Sitting (+6 Solutions)
Each of us woke up with aching hands or legs at least once in our lives, didn’t we?
But when is that a reason to worry? Is it normal to have stiff joints in the middle of the day, after getting up from your desk? Not really, if you ask me. So if you’re dealing with this problem, you should try to find what’s behind.
Here are the top 6 causes of stiff joints after sitting – there are very high chances that you have one of these 6 problems. So that’s the best list to find the responsible.
Cause #1 – Osteoarthritis
Common For: Elderly or people over 60
Have you ever heard your grandparents complaining of aching knees when they stand up? Have you ever noticed how slowly they get up? Well, the main responsible for both of these is osteoarthritis.
The Explanation: In OA, the bone cartilage gradually wears down, usually because of age. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it takes a few years for you to see the real signs of osteoarthritis.
But there are 2 consequence of this cartilage erosion:
- additionally, stiffness
In most cases, it’s all about the leg, knees and even toe joints. Just like morning stiffness tends to affect hand joints more, standing stiffness is mostly related to legs.
Best Sign To Recognize It: It usually has 2 major signs:
- It goes away within a few minutes after you stand up
- It affects the legs more than the upper part of your body
Best Remedy: Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to fight back this stiffness, especially after sitting down for a long time. Simply try not to stand up suddenly, and move slowly a few minutes after standing.
Glucosamine supplements are probably your best helper, but pay attention what brand you choose.
Cause #2 – Auto-immune Arthritis
Common For: Mostly women, but there isn’t any rule – it can also affect men. Usually genetics play a big part in this kind of conditions. So if you have someone in your large family, you could be at risk.
The Explanation: Stiffness is common in arthritis – especially if you have an auto-immune form. The joints are constantly swollen, so moving is very difficult.
But there are 2 things to point out:
- morning stiffness is very common in these conditions
- sitting stiffness also appears frequently
But I want to talk about the last one.
So if you get stiff joints after sitting down for a while, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis could be behind. In fact, they’re some of the top causes.
Best Sign To Recognize It: There are basically 2 things you can guide on:
- stiffness comes up even if you sit down for 10-15 minutes
- it needs a longer time to go away (over 10 minutes)
Best Remedy: If your arthritis is causing the stiffness, you have only one choice – to treat the cause. Otherwise, the stiffness won’t go away. It’s not the kind of symptom you can treat alone.
My #1 advice for auto-immune arthritis is turmeric, a natural herb that works amazing for inflammation. In fact, it’t the best natural anti-inflammatory. Turmeric supplements are the best form to use it, in my opinion. Here are the best ones for this year.
Cause #3 – Gout
Common For: Mostly men, it’s pretty rare in women. Just like in auto-immune arthritis, genetics is the main risk factor.
The pain from gout is probably the worst joint pain you can ever feel. I would describe it in 3 words:
Now, imagine feeling this kind of pain and having your leg stuck at the same time. It doesn’t feel too good, does it?
The Explanation: The thing that causes gout are crystals of uric acid that are stored inside the joints. At one point, they cause terrible pain and stiffness. It’s like your toes are burning no matter in what position you’re holding them.
So there are basically 2 major things about gout:
- the pain is so terrible that you can’t ignore it
- usually, it appears during the night and you wake up in tremendous pain
- the stiffness doesn’t always appear
Therefore, if it’s just sitting stiffness bothering you, there are 99% chances that you’re not suffering of gout.
Best Sign To Recognize It: I would consider these 3 things:
- no morning stiffness (unlike other forms of arthritis)
- it only comes up during the attacks and disappears afterwards
- you will never have stiffness alone, without pain
Best Remedy: In this case, only a medical treatment is strong enough to treat the condition completely. I don’t recommend you any herbs or alternative remedies, because you need something that works fast.
Cause #4 – Pregnancy
Surprisingly or not, that’s one of the less known causes of sitting stiffness. So why does this problem appear in pregnanacy?
The Explanation: Well, there are 2 major reasons:
- extra weight
Now let’s start with the first one. As your pregnancy advances, your baby also grows. Well, this increasing weight presses on your pelvis joints more with every day.
In fact, the #1 problem of pregnant women is SI joint pain. If you never heard of it, don’t worry. It basically affects the pelvis joints.
However, pregnancy can also produce joint stiffness – especially in the legs.
When you’re pregnant, your body prepares for birth by producing a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is meant to soften joints and muscles, in order to make them looser.
Best Way To Recognize It: It Usually appears in the last trimester. However, joint pain itself can appear in early stages of pregnancy, so if your’re also experiencing stiff joints, don’t panic. It’s probably normal.
Best Remedy: Time. In this case there isn’t much you can do other than taking an extra time for every activity, including getting up.
So if you sit down working at the computer or simply resting, don’t get up too sudden. You may feel like you’re losing control over your legs, but things will get back to normal after a few seconds.
Cause #5 – Lupus
Common For: There’s no rule, but genetics and other risk factors are important.
Lupus is another autoimmune condition that can produce joint pain on a daily basis. Joint inflammation is one of the regular symptoms of lupus. And where there’s inflammation, stiffness also comes up.
The Explanation: In lupus, your immune system attacks itself. For this reason, every part of your body will suffer at one point – joints included.
Just like in most types of arthritis, lupus patients experience stiffness especially in the morning, after laying in bed the whole night.
When a lupus patient sits down for hours, he feel like his legs are stuck and swollen after getting up.
Best Way To Recognize It: Other symptoms are a must:
- chronic joint pain
Stiffness never comes alone in lupus, so if you only experience this problem, you surely don’t have lupus.
Best Remedy: Medical treatment is a must because lupus affects immunity. So it requires a very serious treatment, it’s not something minor.
Cause #6 – Bursitis
Common For: Usually adults over 40 or athletes that overuse their joints.
The Explanation: Bursitis is the inflammation of bursae, some small sacks located near the joints.
Though it’s pretty uncommon, bursitis is one of the common causes of joint inflammation – besides the arthritis family. This time, it’s the bursae that gets swollen, not the joints themselves.
This is a sac filled with lubricating fluid, located between tissues, that decreases rubbing, friction, and irritation. Obviously, where there’s inflammation, there’s also stiffness.
How To Recognize It: There’s not clear symptom for bursitis, but here’s how I differentiate it from arthritis:
- stiffness only appears in one of your arms
- not all your body is affected
- there’s also pain (it’s a must)
So if it’s only your arm feeling stiff, and you also experience some pain, it may be bursitis behind.
Best Remedy: Resting is probably the best thing you can do for bursitis.
Luckily, you don’t need to see a doctor because the inflammation will heal alone in a few days or weeks. Only try to minimize physical effort and you should be fine.
Best 6 Solutions You Have
By now, you should be able to identify what’s causing your stiff joints. So now what? Well, as you know what’s producing it, it’s time to find out what you can do about it. Here are the best 6 things you can do in this case:
#1 – Hot Bottles
Heat doesn’t always relieve arthritis pain – ice works better in this case. But when it comes to stiffness, heat is way better.
Make sure you have a hot bottle close and apply it on your stiff area, before you get up. You can also apply it after, but moving around will be a bit harder. You don’t need to use a bottle – if you have a heating pad, it’s a much better option.
Both of them would decrease your stiffness in a few minutes. So in my opinion, heat is the fastest solution – but keep in mind that it’s just temporary and you have to use it every time your joints feel stiff.
#2 – Glucosamine
This is more of a long term solution – it won’t work overnight, but it could do miracles after a while. I recommend it more if your stiffness is caused by osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine is the #1 substances for rebuilding cartilages – which is the problem that causes the stiffness from OA. You can find it mostly as supplements, so this could be a downside if you hate pills. But in my opinion, it’s a pretty comfortable solution.
A supplement with glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin and MSM is the perfect helper for osteoarthritis. But keep in mind that it’s a long term remedy, so don’t expect to see a change the next day.
#3 – Massage
That’s another solution that you can use immediately. It will only take a while and your stiffness will go away – but not for too long.
I recommend massage for people with chronic conditions – massage alone helps, but if you use some oils as well, the results are even better. Now you have 2 options:
- You can use regular oils like Coconut oil or Castor oil
- You can use oils that are specially designed for pain – CBD oil
No matter which category you choose, all you have to do is to massage the stiff area with both of your hands for a couple of minutes. Normally, your stiffness should go away pretty shortly.
#4 – Herbs
Herbal remedies are something I truly believe in – after all, I’ve experienced their power myself.
Well, herbs work best for inflammatory arthritis, like RA, PsA or gout. I would also recommend them for chronic pain, because they can help a lot.
Basically, my top recommendations are Turmeric and Boswellia. They are the best anti-inflammatory I know, and have very few side effects. If you’re interested in other herbs with this effect, here’s the full list.
Their biggest advantage – they work pretty fast, but act on the long term. So I totally recommend supplements with these herbs.
#5 – Exercising
Though I’m not a fan of it, exercising is a real solution for the long term.
Why I don’t like that much? Because it’s pretty hard to perform any physical activity when you have joint problems. I tried yoga and it wasn’t too easy at first – but it didn’t help a lot either.
However, regular exercising could help stiff joints. Movement increases flexibility, so you should see a minor improvement after a while. What kind of exercises should you do?
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about working out or running. Walking is perfect, especially for the beginning – only make sure to do it regularly, because that’s when it works best.
#6 – Special Routine
Now this is one interesting tip I can give you. It’s not a real solution, because it doesn’t always work – but it can help decrease your stiffness.
So what exactly is this special routine? Well, here it is:
- Don’t get up too sudden if you’ve been sitting for more than 20-30 minutes
- Before you get up, gently massage your legs or knees (or any part of your body that’s feeling stiff)
- If it’s your knees feeling stiff, try to rotate or bend them down (just a bit)
You can also do the last 2 points at ever 10-15 minutes, if you remember. It would help your joints stay fresh, so you could get up easier. Anyway, this routine doesn’t always help, but it’s extremely easy so I really recommend you to try it. You’re not losing anything, after all.
So What’s Causing Your Stiff Joints?
If you’re suffering from a form of arthritis, it’s surely this condition producing your pain.
Whether it is osteoarthritis, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, stiffness is one of its regular symptoms. So if you were diagnosed with one of these, don’t dig too deep – it’s surely the arthritis behind.
However, in case you’re not an arthritis patient, your stiffness may be caused by another health issue – lupus, bursitis or even gout.
It’s all about finding out what’s causing your stiffness. Once you know the diagnosis, you can get rid of that stiffness with the proper treatment.
The 6 solutions from above will surely help – at least some of them, according to the cause of your pain. So you can try them out and see if they help. But normally, they really should.
In case you need any other advice, leave a comment below and I will gladly get back to you shortly.