What is Stiffness?
Stiffness is the term used to describe the inability to move freely without pain or inflammation or the loss of range of motion. Simply put, stiffness is caused by inflammation of either the muscles or the joints and it is commonly associated with muscle and joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatic arthritis and muscle strain. Stiffness and tightness can affect many parts of the body, including the neck, back, ankles, calves, hips, knees, legs, shoulders, and more.
What Causes Stiffness?
Many people struggle with stiffness and pain and believe it to be a natural part of the aging process. While stiffness is sometimes the result of general wear and tear there are a number of other possible causes of this type of discomfort and many of them can be adequately treated or addressed with a few life-style changes.
Other causes of stiffness include:
- Obesity, which places extra strain on joints an muscles
- Past injuries which have never adequately healed
- Excessive amounts of insulin in the system (often as a result of diets high in sugar and carbohydrates) which causes inflammation
- Excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which also causes inflammation
- Hormone imbalance or fluctuations
- Viral infections
- Post exercise where the muscles are adjusting to new demands
Note: If you have stiffness without an obvious cause (such as vigorous exercise) then it is always advisable to see your doctor where a diagnosis can be made and underlying conditions can be ruled out.
Help for Stiffness
Stiffness need not be a daily burden. As it is a symptom related to inflammation many people are now turning to natural remedies as an alternative to prescription anti-inflammatory medications (which usually come with side effects and the risk of addiction) to relieve the pain and discomfort of stiffness.
Homeopathic ingredients such as Magnesium phosphoricum and Matricaria recutita both have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and both are renowned for their soothing effect on aching muscles and stiff joints.
Arnica is also a well known ingredient that helps promote the healing of connective tissue, cartilage and bones while Dulcamara is another excellent anti-inflammatory often used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
The ingredients Bryonia and Berberis are also excellent when trying to relieve stiffness. In addition, the homeopathic ingredient Rhus tox can be used to relieve pain and ‘creaky’ joints, and works well to heal fibrous tissue markedly joints, tendons, and sheaths.