We all know we feel better physically, emotionally and psychologically if we’ve taken the time to exercise in the morning but how do we reduce the general ache and stiffness that many of us feel before we even get out of bed?
The main thing people consult an osteopath for is pain. Pain in their low back, between their shoulder blades and in their neck.
But a frequent complaint in practice is people reporting a general feeling of stiffness or ache in all sorts of places when they try to leave their beds of a morning. So while the good news is you aren’t woken with pain in the night, the moans and groans start when you haul yourself out of bed. And it can be enough to wake your partner, or the dog.
Is there any research on this?
There was nothing focused in the literature about whether stiffness improves with exercise, and certainly nothing as specific as morning stiffness. Although this may be because no one asked the question in an original study (i.e. it wasn’t set as a specific outcome for the population being studied).
An educated guess…
Waking with stiffness would be due mostly to your body trying to adapt to new behaviours or resting postures you’d get out of given the chance if you were awake.
Examples of the types of things that might cause stiffness in your neck:
Bingeing on Netflix in bed with a laptop
Long long hours at a computer
Long drives on straight roads
Examples of the types of things that might cause stiffness in your low back:
Examples of the types of things that might cause stiffness in your feet and achilles:
Standing for long periods (cooking, ironing, gallery walking)
New exercises or an increase to new exercises (skipping, golfing, new shoes)
Or just good old DOMS the day or two after a workout at the gym
What exactly will you be mobilising?
There is no exactly about it….you’ll be mobilising nerves, muscles, tubes, connective tissue, all manner of fluids including sparking up your brain juices.
A word of caution in the mornings.
Your nervous system is a bit protective of itself when we first wake up, as anyone who has ever done yoga before 6am will attest. That burning tightness behind your knees is not your hamstrings it’s actually your sciatic nerve letting you know it does not appreciate being pulled quite so aggressively before the sun has even risen.
Give it a fortnight.
It might take a while to tell if your body is going to love a new regime but in the meantime you can reward your mornings with these mobilisations:
ACHILLES and FEET stiff when you stand on them in the mornings?
Prancing with straight legs
Heel to toe
Holding onto the door frame squat
If your low back stiff in the mornings?
Try this series of movements:
Knees to chest
Child Pose with Lateral Flexion
UPPER BACK and NECK stiffness in the mornings?
Sidelying bow and arrow
Neck slider/shoulder shrugs
All our mobilisations will be available on our BLOG this month.
So make yourself a morning routine that suits you.
Share these tips and tricks to put some spring in someone else’s step this August.