Joint Stiffness Causes & Symptoms: An Alarm to Other Joint Disorders


Joint Stiffness is the feeling that the motion of a joint is limited or difficult. The feeling is not caused by weakness or reluctance to move the joint due to pain. Some people with stiffness are capable of moving the joint through its full range of motion, but this movement can require force.

Joint stiffness caused by inflammation usually occurs or is worse immediately after awakening or after prolonged resting or immobility. Stiffness is common with arthritis.

Morning stiffness commonly occurs with rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis and gradually lessens with activity after an hour or longer. Stiffness that gets worse as the day progresses is usually not caused by inflammation.

Joint stiffness is one of the most common symptoms of various disorders affecting joints. Stiffened joints are always a cause of immobility and infliction of chronic pain. Painful joints are characterized by swollenness and inflammation that hamper the daily physical activities and movements carried out by the affected individual.

You May Check Out The Following Disorders And Their Consequent Disabilities That Are Accompanied By Stiff Joints.

  • If you experience severe pain even for just bending, turning, walking or other short motions, especially during the morning you are most likely to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
    Joints affected by chronic infectious diseases or the neoplasm can also become too stiff and painful to carry out any movement. osteoarthritis is another major cause of joint stiffness.
  • Sometimes the stiffness in joints becomes so intense that it becomes quite impossible for the patient to perform any kind of joint motion.
    The patient is then likely to be suffering from advanced stages of diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Ankylosed is a type of joint disorder due to the occurrence of which the joints of the affected person are unable to move properly and the degree of movement is far below the normal range of motion.

Patients, suffering from ‘morning stiffness’ are generally treated with arthritis medications while some of them are given anti-inflammatory treatment for painful joint recovery. You may also try out with some homemade remedies to reduce joint stiffness and chronic pain.

Your stiffened joint will be healed to a great extent if you wrap the affected joint with a hot warm towel for at least 20 minutes. To retain the warmth for a longer period of time than usual you can put a dry towel over the hot one.
The ‘morning stiffness’ can be reduced by consuming two tablets of Advil or Nuprin with a glass of milk in the early morning or in the late night before going to sleep.


  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    The most common cause of joint pain is arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting over 1.5 million Americans. Its symptoms typically appear between ages 30 and 60.

    RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder. It’s also an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system attacks healthy parts of your body, such as the lining of your joints. This causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Over time, it can also cause joint deformity and bone erosion.

    RA has no cure, so its symptoms can’t be eliminated entirely. They can be managed through medication and other treatments. However, once the disease is advanced, little can be done to prevent disability.

  • Osteoarthritis (OA)
    Another common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis(OA). OA is sometimes called degenerative arthritis. It affects nearly 27 million Americans. It’s most common in people over age 65.
    This type of arthritis results from wear and tear on your joints. Cartilage, the thin tissue that protects the bones in your joints, wears away with use. Over time, the cartilage can no longer protect your bones. OA can affect any joint in the body, but it most often affects the:

    • knees
    • hips
    • fingers
    • neck
    • back

    As OA progresses, it can begin to cause symptoms other than stiffness.

    These Include:

    • pain
    • swelling
    • cracking sounds when the joint is in motion

    As the condition worsens, your bones may break more easily, and you could develop bone spurs. In advanced stages of OA, the cartilage disappears. Bones rub against other bones in your joint. This can cause extreme pain, stiffness, and disability.

  • Lupus
    Lupus is an autoimmune disease like RA. Your body attacks itself, including your organs and tissues. Lupus that attacks your joints can cause stiffness, pain, and swelling.

    Lupus is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic many other conditions. It may take several months for a lupus diagnosis while tests rule out other conditions.

  • Bursitis
    Bursae are tiny fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, ligaments, and muscles in your joints. You develop bursitis when those sacs become inflamed. This condition can cause stiffness and pain in the affected joint. Bursitis can affect any joint, but it is most Common In Large Joints Like The:

    • elbow
    • shoulder
    • hip

    Other Common Sites Include The:

    • knee
    • ankle
    • big toe
  • Gout
    Unlike some other possible causes of joint stiffness, gout comes on suddenly. It may appear while you’re asleep, which may make the joints especially painful when you wake up.
    Severe, sudden episodes of pain and tenderness in joints characterize gout. Gout can impact any joint. The big toe is frequently the first joint to experience symptoms.
    Gout is a type of arthritis. It affects men more often than women, but a woman’s risk of developing gout increases after menopause. Most people will deal with periods of gout symptoms for the rest of their life, but symptoms are treatable.
  • Bone Cancer
    This is rarely a cause for joint pain and stiffness, but it is a possibility. People with bone cancer may experience joint pain or bone pain. You may also experience swelling or sensitivity near a bone.
    Not everyone will have pain, which is why bone cancer may advance and begin causing other symptoms before it’s discovered.


Sуmрtоmѕ Of Joint Pain
Joint stiffness may be either the symptom of pain on moving a joint, the symptom of loss of range of motion or the physical sign of reduced range of motion.

  • Pain: On movement is commonly caused by osteoarthritis, often in quite minor degrees, and other forms of arthritis. It may also be caused by injury or overuse and rarely by more complex cause of pain such as infection or neoplasm.
    The range of motion may be normal or limited by pain. “Morning stiffness” pain which eases up after the joint has been used, is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Loss Of Motion (Symptom): The patient notices that the joint (or many joints) do not move as far as they used to or need to. Loss of motion is a feature of more advanced stages of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Loss Of Range Of Motion (Sign): The examining medical professional notes that the range of motion of the joint is less than normal. A routine examination by an orthopedic surgeon or rheumatologist will often pay particular attention to this.

    The range of motion may be measured and compared to the other side and to normal ranges. This sign is associated with the same causes as the symptom. In extreme cases when the joint does not move at all it is said to be ankylosed.



  • Hot Or Cold Compress
    Both temperature extremes may be beneficial for stiff joints.
    Apply a cold compress or bag of ice to your stiff joint for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. This can help reduce inflammation or swelling and ease the joint into movement. It can also dull pain receptors so you experience less pain.
    Heat is also therapeutic to joints and muscles. Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm water from a shower or bath to relax muscles and increase circulation.
  • Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medication
    Many mild symptoms of joint pain can be relieved by OTC medicines. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used medication for arthritis. Generic names for NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Steroids
    If inflammation and swelling in the joint cause joint stiffness, steroids may be a treatment option. Swelling and inflammation are common with arthritis. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation. When inflammation decreases, joint pain and stiffness decrease too.
    Steroids may not be beneficial for people with advanced arthritis. In some cases, relief may be short-lived, and future steroid injections may not be as effective.
  • Exercise
    Exercise and physical therapy may help increase joint mobility, which can reduce stiffness.
    It’s also a great way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around excess pounds can increase your risk for certain conditions that cause joint pain and stiffness.

    If you’re unsure how to begin exercising or are having difficulty with movement, talk with your doctor or a trained physical therapist.

    Exercise is an easy way to relieve pain and stiffness, but you can aggravate certain conditions if you don’t take precautions before beginning an exercise plan.

Read More: Know Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Of Swollen Joints


With the advancement of science and quality of medical research, various therapeutic medications are now being formulated to cure joint stiffness. One can now easily accessible for effective medications for painful stiff joints.

Though there are several joint treatment medicines available in the market, one should consult a certified orthopedic surgeon for sore joint treatment.

In order to combat joint disorders causing swollenness, inflammation, and stiffness in joints proper diagnosis of the exact cause of the joint disorder is recommended.