The role of rest in healing joint pain

Stoicism is great, until it causes you damage. Learn about the importance of rest in optimising your joint health.

When you’ve got painful joints it’s important to continue your daily routine and live life to the full. But joint pain management is all about balance. While resting too much can cause the joints to become stiff and immobile, rest and sleep allow your body to recover, so it’s good to know when to take the gas off.

When to limit strenuous activities

If you notice increased pain, swelling, or heat in your joints, it may be time to temporarily limit weight-bearing activities. This includes any exercises you may have been prescribed.

Exercise can be good to control fatigue, but if you’re experiencing severe tiredness or weakness in your joints, take a break from strenuous exercise and try taking regular walks, swims or practice yoga instead.

It might also be useful to break up any big activities into smaller chunks. If you’re doing housework, gardening or any other physical activity, take regular breaks and don’t try to fit too much into one day.

The restorative power of sleep

Sleep helps to repair cell damage and restore energy lost during waking hours. It's also during sleep that tissue repair, muscle growth and growth hormone release occur, so getting a solid eight hours a night can help to heal your pain and repair your joints.

Sleep and mood are closely connected. Poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, which can alter your perception of pain. Good sleep, on the other hand, can help to restore your emotional wellbeing, helping you to feel more positive. Find out more about how to live positively with chronic pain and if you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, here’s some tips that could help.

Last updated Thursday 2 April 2020