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Ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the morning

By Mayo Clinic

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.

Dressing

Prepare your clothes the night before. If your symptoms aren't as bad at night, lay out your clothes for the next day in the order you plan to put them on.Put elastic laces on shoes. Elastic laces turn any pair of shoes into slip-ons. When you use them, you won't have to bend over to lace up your shoes.Dress while sitting. It's easier to dress while seated. Use your weaker limb first when putting on your clothing.Use a shoehorn. A long-handled shoehorn is especially helpful for putting on tight-fitting shoes.Use shoe and sock aids. These inexpensive devices can remove the need for you to bend to put your socks and shoes on.

Bathing and grooming

Slip-proof your shower or tub. Place a nonslip mat on the floor. You can also use slip-resistant vinyl matting or apply anti-slip coating, which is available in most home improvement stores.Sit down when showering. Use a waterproof chair or a lawn chair to avoid slipping.Use a shower mitt. A shower mitt made of terry cloth or loofah is easier to handle than a washcloth.Swivel in and out of the bath. Place a towel on the edge of the bathtub to help you swivel in and out without slipping.Soak and moisturize your hands and feet. Soaking and moisturizing will soften your nails and make trimming them easier. If you have trouble trimming your toenails, see a doctor who specializes in treating the feet (podiatrist).

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/in-depth/ease-rheumatoid-arthritis-symptoms-in-the-morning/art-20129753/?pg=1