Morning Stiffness

Physicians define morning stiffness as a lack of joint mobility that some patients experience upon awakening in the morning. It can be a symptom of several rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or fibromyalgia. The symptoms of morning stiffness tend to improve within 30 minutes for people with OA. In patients with RA, SLE, or fibromyalgia, the stiffness may persist for 45 minutes or longer.

This column is written by Robert S. Dinsmoor, a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.

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