Difficulty waking up & severe fatigue with joint pain

Updated April 17, 2017

Feeling extremely tired, especially when rising from a nap or long sleep, is a common symptom associated with inflammatory joint diseases, injuries or conditions. Pain in the joints can occur with severe fatigue because of the underlying illness or coexisting conditions such as obesity, sleep deprivation and pain medication side effects.


According to Medline Plus, about one in seven people in the United States suffer from some kind of arthritis or joint inflammation condition. Joint pain can be a direct result of an arthritic condition or a side effect of another disease or injury. Many arthritis patients experience severe fatigue daily. Feelings of extreme fatigue can occur because a patient wakes frequently at night due to pain, but often fatigue is a mysterious side effect that does appear to have a distinct trigger.

Severe Fatigue

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, severe fatigue is an incapacitating lack of energy that is all-encompassing, resulting in a dramatic decline in mental and physical activity. Researchers at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the relationship between the autoimmune disorder rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and severe fatigue and linked the need for excessive rest with RA patients. Study results, published in the "Journal of Clinical Nursing" in 2007, also showed severe fatigue can be predicted in RA patients by assessing their general health and the amount of disability present due to the arthritic condition.

Sleep Dysfuntion

To awaken from sleep slowly with the desire to sleep longer can be a result of painful joint conditions that often cause dysfunctional sleep patterns. According to Medline Plus, feeling fatigued while in the process of waking up is a common complaint of those with joint inflammation. A different condition called sleep paralysis occurs when a person cannot move or speak for a short period after awakening. Joint pain does not appear to be a common symptom linked to people who experience sleep paralysis.


According to experts at the John Hopkins Arthritis Center, people who are 10 or more pounds overweight are at risk for osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder. Osteoarthritis causes painful breakdown of cartilage in the knees, hips, hands, back and neck. The disorder is often diagnosed in overweight individuals who are also at risk for sleep disruption due to joint pain.


Opiods are narcotic drugs often prescribed for pain management. The word opioid comes from the poppy plant extract, opium. Opioid pain relievers such as fentanyl, oxycodone and morphine are available by prescription. According to the American Chronic Pain Association, possible opioid side effects include drowsiness, sedation, sleep disturbance and decreased blood pressure.

Fighting Off Fatigue

According to Harvard Health Publications, the most common cause of persistent fatigue is stress-induced emotions that consume large amounts of energy. Stressful feelings can be the result of joint pain or other symptoms that accompany joint disorders. Relaxation therapies helpful in reducing emotional stress include meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga and massage.

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About the Author

Based in Northern California, Teresa O’Hanlon has been writing and editing news and feature stories since 1986. She writes for LIVESTRONG.COM, "The Placer Herald" and "The Auburn Journal." O'Hanlon has a special interest in health education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in media communications from California State University-Sacramento.