6 Great Morning Habits to Manage Your Pain

sleep and chronic pain

Mornings can be rough for folks with chronic pain. However, a solid morning routine, centered around managing your chronic pain, can help set you up for a good day. 

When you have chronic pain, waking up in the morning can mean uncomfortable stiffness, inflammation, and greater pain. Perhaps your medications have worn off by the time you wake up, leading to a rude awakening. Overall, you haven’t moved, eaten or drank anything in several hours. You may even feel more fatigued than when you went to bed. 

However, there are ways to start your morning that can help get your chronic pain managed in a calm, caring way. This article will explore some strategies for tackling that stiff, uncomfortable experience of waking up in pain. Read on for 6 things to incorporate into your morning routine if you struggle with chronic pain.

A good morning routine starts the night before

Mornings can be hectic! There’s so much to do in a small amount of time; and, when you live with chronic pain, there’s the added stress of hurting. 

Set yourself up for success in the morning by prepping what you can the night before. Some things that you can organize for yourself to save time the next morning include: 

  • Breakfast and lunch ready in the fridge
  • Your outfit layed out 
  • Your bags packed and ready to go
  • If you commute, make sure there’s gas in the tank 

When that’s all set, try to go to bed early so that you can wake up early. Practice good sleep hygiene to get the best sleep possible. Then, in the morning, wake up a bit earlier than necessary so there is time to do your pain management morning routine, without rushing.


One amazing technique for getting that morning soreness under control is movement. Begin your day by stretching in bed, before you get up. Then, when you’ve gotten out of bed, stretch some more. This helps loosen your muscles and ligaments after not moving all night. 

Gentle movement gets the blood circulating and releases endorphins. This helps calm any excess inflammation. 

a woman stretches before getting out of bed as part of her chronic pain morning routine

If you’re feeling up to it, a morning walk is an excellent way to wake your body up. This can be just a short walk around the block. Moreover, seeing the morning sunlight helps sync your circadian rhythm, leading to a better sleep at night.


Another key to pain management in the morning is relaxation. Rushing in the morning is so stressful and begins your day with a cortisol spike. This can make you feel tense. 

Take a few moments to yourself to relax. For instance, meditation is an excellent relaxation tool. Even starting your day with 5 minutes of meditation can make a big difference. It quiets your mind and can improve your mood. If you’re interested in trying guided meditations, check out our video library for some pain-related meditations. 

a woman practices meditation as part of her morning routine with chronic pain.

Further, you may find it beneficial to replace scrolling on your phone with something calming. Choose an activity that puts you in a good mood, like reading, listening to music, or spending time with a pet. 


Waking up in pain is not very refreshing. So, having a refreshing hygiene routine can help. This can include a nice warm shower, oral care, a skincare routine, and/or tidying up your hair. 

This can become part of your morning relaxation. Make it an enjoyable experience; light a candle or put on an essential oil diffuser before starting. 

On days where you are extremely sore, hygiene tasks can be difficult. If this is the case, even wiping your face with a wet cloth can make you feel more refreshed. Try to get back on your regular hygiene routine once you feel more capable. 

Breakfast and Medications

Try to eat breakfast everyday. Even if you’re not hungry, fueling your body is important. Having a meal can make you feel less irritable. If you struggle with choosing what to eat, try to prepare your breakfast the night before so there’s no tough decisions to make when you’re tired. 

Some easy premade breakfasts ideas are: 

  • Overnight oats 
  • Chia pudding 
  • Tofu scramble 
  • Muffins 
  • Yogurt & granola (add the granola when you’re ready to eat)

Drink a nice cold glass of water with your breakfast. When you wake up, you’re likely dehydrated. Unfortunately, dehydration often increases pain intensity. 

Additionally, eating breakfast around the same time each morning may help you stay consistent with taking medications. Many medications require you to take them with food. This can solidify your medication schedule. 

Consistency – the key to a great morning routine

A solid morning routine is consistent. Having an automatic morning routine that you do everyday removes any tricky decision making. When you live with fatigue and/or brain fog, this automatic process can be really helpful. 


A good morning routine can help you manage elevated morning pain levels. Give yourself time to manage your symptoms so you start the day feeling relaxed and refreshed. 

Waking up a bit earlier is worth every second. Make pain management your priority each morning. 

In summary:

  • Prepare what you can the night before
  • Wake up earlier to avoid rushing
  • Stretch it out
  • Make time for relaxation
  • Freshen yourself up
  • Eat something
  • Repeat!


McKenna, R. (2021). Your Step-by-Step Morning Ritual for Calming Joint Pain. Health Central. Retrieved from here

Pain Experts of Arizona. (n.d.). 11 Ways to Make Chronic Pain Easier in the Mornings. Retrieved from: here

Taylor, S.G. (2018). How a morning routine can help you manage life with chronic pain. Pain Resource. Retrieved from: here

Wyant, P. (2018). 7 Hacks that can make mornings with chronic pain easier. The Mighty. Retrieved from: here 

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses User Verification plugin to reduce spam. See how your comment data is processed.