Causes of Joint Pain at Night and How to Relieve It

Stretching is a really effective way to relieve joint pain at night. If the pain affects the hands, try knitting to mobilize the fingers.
Causes of Joint Pain at Night and How to Relieve It
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

If you suffer from arthritis, then you’ve surely spent a few sleepless nights due to the pain. It’s a common complaint that can reduce our quality of life. Do you know how to relieve joint pain at night.

First off, we need to make something clear: there is often no cure for arthritis pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, effective treatments exist to relieve joint pain and offer a better quality of life, but the pain is irreversible.

To increase your day-to-day well being, and above all, help relieve joint pain at night, follow these simple tips.

1. Why is joint pain more intense at night?

How to Relieve Joint Pain at Night

Daily activity

During the day, you’re moving around, picking up things, climbing stairs, you’re in motion…

All this activity makes the joint “hot,” and although you may feel some pain, it’s at night when you’re not moving that the pain is more pronounced.

Adrenal fatigue

You’ve probably heard of adrenal fatigue, also known as chronic fatigue. This study carried out by the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, confirms that this term is not correct, given that the adrenal glands can’t “feel” fatigue.

In reality, what doctors refer to with this term is the relationship that has to do with our adrenal glands and with a stimulation of the nervous system that causes us pain, tiredness, anxiety, insomnia, and lack of appetite, among others. This ailment is related, in turn, to the fact that at night the suffering is more intense.


If the majority of your day is filled with tension, worry, anxiety and stress that you cannot manage in a healthy way, all of this will raise the level of cortisol in your blood, especially in men, which this study, carried out by the AF2R-Centre Hospitalier de Rouffach (France), confirms.


It’s been found that compounds in the foods we eat every day not only cause inflammation but also cause toxins to be stored in the body.

If you’re eating an unhealthy diet, this can increase pain and inflammation.


Sedentary lifestyle and immobility

If you spend the whole day on the couch or think that it’s best to keep our joints still all day, it’s likely that when night comes the pain will increase.

The reason? When the joints are immobile, rigidity and stiffness set in. If you practice simple stretching exercises in the morning and at night, you’ll minimize the pain. It’s worth it!

Tips to relieve joint pain at night

How to Relieve Joint Pain at Night

1. Nutrition

Although the causes of arthritis can be numerous, one way to achieve a better quality of life is through nutrition.
A proper diet will allow you to rebuild cartilage, nourish bones and avoid inflammation.

Simple remedies like drinking ginger tea every day or opting for fruit and fresh foods over pre-cooked meals are small yet effective habits you can put into practice.

Some recommended foods are:

  • Bluefish. It contains omega-3 fatty acids which, according to the Spanish Heart Foundation, help to maintain cholesterol levels.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. According to this study carried out by the University of Gdansk (Poland), it contains antioxidants and a great anti-inflammatory capacity.
  • Tomatoes, carrots and peppers. These contain lycopene which, according to this study carried out by the Autonomous University of Yucatan (Mexico), contains multiple antioxidants.
  • Artichokes. According to this study by the Institute of Sciences of Food Production (Italy), these can also help to prevent aging.
  • Lemons and citrus fruits. According to this research carried out by the Research Center for Nutrition and Health (Spain), these fruits strengthen the immune system thanks to their vitamin C content.
  • Pineapple. This contains bromelain, which, according to this study by the Sri Ramachandra University, favors and improves circulation.
  • Whole grain cereals. According to the Mayo Clinic, they are essential for a balanced diet.

2. Hot cold therapy

To avoid nocturnal joint pain, according to this study conducted by the University of the Americas (Chile), cryotherapy, a specific hot-cold interval therapy, is also recommended one hour before bedtime:

  • A bag of ice cubes.
  • A tub of hot water (not boiling) with 3 sprigs of rosemary.
  • Apply the ice bag to the affected area for 20 seconds.
  • Then, submerge the joint if possible in the tub of hot water.
  • Repeat these steps 5 times and experience the relief in pain.

3. The best natural pain reliever

How to Relieve Joint Pain at Night

Ginger tea


  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, which, according to this study conducted by the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (Iran), ginger is a truly beneficial anti-inflammatory food.
  • A cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon honey, which, according to this study carried out by the Cira Garcia central clinic (Cuba), is healing and prevents inflammation.


  • It’s easy. Just boil the water and add the ginger and honey. Let cook for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.

When should I drink it?

  • Once at breakfast and once before going to bed.

4. Small stretches before bed

  • If you gently exercise the affected joints, both the cartilage and the joint itself will be less stiff and cramped.
  • One effective way to relieve joint pain is to do knitting if arthritis affects your hands and fingers, or you can stretch both your legs if your knees are bothering you. This is affirmed in this study by the University of Malaga.
  • You can put small weights around your ankles and lift each leg 5 times. You’ll notice the relief at bedtime.

Do you suffer joint pain at night? These remedies won’t take your arthritis away, but they may help to relieve it. However, your first port of call should always be your doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bones, muscles, and joints. (2015, August)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. (n.d.)
  • Smolen, J. S., & Steiner, G. (2003). Therapeutic strategies for rheumatoid arthritis. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.
  • White, B. (2007). Ginger: An overview. American Family Physician.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.