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How to Manage Stiffness from Lack of Movement

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There is one thing we just keep hearing complaints about in recent months and that’s stiffness! Whether it’s from moving less than normal when following the lockdown guidelines to stay at home or work from home, or whether you have found yourself back at work and at a desk for hours on end, stiffness can be a huge pain! Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can prevent and even treat stiffness yourself – from home or anywhere you find yourself!


What is Body Stiffness?

Body stiffness refers to when your joints or muscles feel stiff and tight and mobility is either difficult or painful. This can happen when our bodies suffer a lack of movement and because our joints can become ‘locked out’ or our muscles receive less blood circulation, failing to warm up when we suddenly go from inactive to active, such as standing up after being sat at a desk for a few hours. Stiffness can also occur with age, as the body naturally makes less synovial fluid, which acts as the oil in the joints that helps them move freely.


Hot or Cold Compress

Temperature extremes can be very beneficial in alleviating stiff joints so applying a hot or cold compress is a common and quick fix. Applying a cold compress or a bag of ice for around 15 minutes can reduce inflammation and swelling, which in turn provides easier movement of the joint. Cold can also dull pain receptors to relieve pain. A hot compress, such as a heating pad or hot water bottle, relaxes muscles and increases blood circulation, which in turn improves their mobility. 


Exercise and physical therapy are often advised for the long-term treatment of joint stiffness. Exercise helps in a few main ways:

  • Helps maintain a healthy weight, easing the amount of weight and pressure on your joints
  • It increases blood flow to the muscles, warming them up making them easier to move
  • Specific and tailored physiotherapy exercises can reduce tension in muscles, and also increase muscle strength, helping to better mobility

With these simple exercises you should be more than capable of handling your stiffness and caring better for your body. It is important to note, however, that if your joint pain or stiffness lasts longer than 30 minutes after a period of inactivity, to book an appointment with your GP for further assessment. Physiotherapy, and a tailored plan can help ease and prevent pain and joint stiffness in the long term. If you’re interested in Physiotherapy at home, don’t hesitate to visit our website for more information or call 02078 840 374.