Why do my hands hurt in the morning when I wake up?

Hands Hurt in the Morning When I Wake Up

No one wants to feel pain first thing in the morning when they wake up. Unfortunately, waking up with hand pain is something that many people experience. In one study, 14% of adults reported that they regularly experience symptoms of hand pain, with many of them also reporting reduced grip strength as a symptom. If your hands hurt in the morning when you wake up, it can make the rest of your day much more difficult as your hand pain prevents you from performing day-to-day tasks.

What could cause my hands to hurt in the morning?

There are many explanations for why your hands hurt when you wake up in the morning. Many patients with similar symptoms suffer from musculoskeletal issues that contribute to their pain. If you are waking up in the morning with painful hands, you may be suffering from one of these common conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis — In the previously mentioned study, over 35% of the adults who complained of recurring hand pain had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It is a common condition in people over the age of 65. 

It occurs due to the cartilage between our joints gradually wearing out as we grow older. This causes the bones to rub against one another, resulting in pain and stiffness. This pain can feel worse in the mornings because the joints in your hand don’t move much while you sleep.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis is a common cause of hand pain. Unlike osteoarthritis, which occurs as a result of the natural aging process, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It causes the immune system in our bodies to attack the healthy cartilage between our joints, as if they were an infection.

Pain, inflammation, redness and swelling are the main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Hands that hurt in the morning are also a common symptom, as it may take an hour or so after you wake up for your joints to loosen up.

  • Fibromyalgia — Fibromyalgia is a condition that has been linked to having highly sensitive nerve endings in the body, especially in the brain. Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, mood disorders and symptoms similar to arthritis. Aside from muscle and joint pain, many patients also experience a numbing or tingling sensation that is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Recent studies have shown that fibromyalgia patients have an excessive number of nerve endings in the palms of their hands. This likely contributes to the hand pain that many patients experience.

Can physical therapy help me with my morning hand pain?

Many common causes of hand, wrist and elbow pain can be treated without surgery. Physical therapy is proven to be an effective method for treating the musculoskeletal and nervous system causes of hand pain. If your hands hurt in the morning when you wake up, a physical therapist can diagnose the cause of your pain and work with you to treat it. 

Opting for physical therapy for your hand pain can help you avoid costly surgeries or prescription pain medications, which can often have undesirable side effects. A licensed physical therapist can use a number of proven techniques to treat your pain, including:

  • Therapeutic exercise.
  • Electrical stimulation.

Turn to Border Therapy Services for experienced physical therapists who care. Our team has years of experience that can be put to use to relieve your pain and get you back to enjoying your daily routine.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.