What is it about the morning when you wake up that makes the joint aches of microscopic colitis the worst?

And then they dissipate once you’re up and around, even if it’s sitting at a computer. How strange is THAT?

Microscopic colitis is associated with joint pain, also known as arthralgia and sometimes called “arthritis.”

However, unlike other forms of arthritis, it’s not destructive or degenerative. It’s transient and non-damaging, though it can be bad enough to keep you in the house all day and even disrupt sleep.

“There are a few reasons why joint aches seem most prominent first thing in the morning,” says Renuka Basavaraju. MD. with Baylor, Scott & White Health in Dallas, TX, specializing in allergy, immunology and rheumatology.

“Due to immobility during sleep, there is decreased venous return (decreased blood flowing back to the heart) due to decreased muscular pumping action.

“This causes increases in volume around joint structures, which causes stiffness.”

This explains why one might awaken in the morning with stiff (though painless) fingers, with this problem rapidly dissipating once the person is out of bed. Joints are prone to stiffness caused by prolonged inertia.

Dr. Basavaraju continues, “There is also a hypothesis that due to diurnal variation in cortisol production, there is increased cortisol production in the morning hours, which causes fluid retention.

“This causes increased volume around the joints, which contributes to stiffness and pain in the joints in the morning.”

Rest assured that once you get up for the day, as annoying as the joint aches of your microscopic colitis are, once your body is moving about (and it doesn’t even have to be that much movement), the discomfort will clear up.

You may even want to try some yoga poses to expedite warming up the joints.

Dr. Basavaraju specializes in diagnosing and providing relief from chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma and other rheumatic diseases.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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Top image: Shutterstock/Adam Gregor