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Staying Healthy

Don’t be such a stiff

January 1, 2019

There are ways to keep morning stiffness from being a pain.

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 Image: © FluxFactory/Getty Images

Ever get that "old man" stiffness in the morning? You know the feeling: the dull, achy, and sometimes painful feeling in your joints — along with the customary grunts and groans — when you first stand and slowly move around.

"It's not known why this happens, especially as people age, but the only common thread is that it occurs after long bouts of inactivity," says Dr. William Docken, a rheumatologist with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "That is why you often feel so stiff when you wake up, since sleeping is when you are inactive for the longest continuous time."

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