Morning back pain is common and can occur due to many different reasons. I have heard many people complaining of stiff back or painful back when they first get out of bed. This is a very generalized complaint. The reasons for a morning back pain varies from age, arthritis, posture to any history of back pain in the past. It may need a full physical therapy assessment in some cases. In contrast, in a few cases, it may be a matter of a small fix here and there.
Know Your Morning Back Pain:
Below are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself to know your pain better. You need to know your pain pattern and consistency of the pain. Many times, we get so busy in our lives that we don’t realize about our pain or chronicity of it. Here is what to do. Try to find out answers of the below. This will help you know your pain a little better.
- Do you ONLY have back pain during the morning?
You need to find out if you have pain throughout the day but is more during the morning. Or you only feel pain or discomfort in the back during the morning. It may be that pain goes away after you take the first few steps out of the bed.
- Is there any particular activity or position causes pain to ease or get worse?
We want to know if there is any position that aggravates or relieves the back pain. Also, how long does it take for the pain to come back?
- How frequently does this happen?
How many times a day you have back pain, if not only in the morning. If you only have a morning back pain, how many days a week or month you have this pain? Is it every day?
- How does the pain go away and how long does it last? What do you do to ease the pain?
This will more describe the severity of the pain. Also, any effort to reduce the pain that works for you.
- Since how long do you have this pain?
Is it something that you started noticing recently or you have that for many months? Any particular incidents that initiated the pain?
- How did the pain start?
Here you are thinking for more of an injury or trauma to your back or body that might have caused the back pain.
- Do you have pain anywhere else?
Is your pain localized to your back only? Sometimes, people feel pain down the leg or buttocks area, or in one side of the abdominal area (more with the visceral pain). Every pain pattern is different. And so the treatment of it.
- Describe the pain:
This is an important factor to know about pain.
If you have a sharp, shooting kind of pain, started suddenly, and does not go away with any position, you may want to visit your doctor.
Reasons why a person may Experience morning back pain?
- Poor posture
- Twisting during sleep
- Other back problems:
There are many factors that can cause back pain in general. For instance, disc prolapse, nerve impingement, spinal stenosis or referred pain from viscera can be felt at back. Unlike the other examples, these types of pain are constant throughout the day and are aggravated with certain activities or positions.
Treatment Approaches that can help with Morning Back Pain:
Considering that you have gone through the questions at the beginning of the page, you can try to perform certain stretches and minor changes in position. This will help to give your back some support and prevent that extra pressure from the back muscles.
- Sleeping positioning:
Positioning is important even while you are sleeping. The best way to support your back is to use one or two pillows. You can place the pillows between your thighs and legs while side-lying or place them under your knees when on your back.
- Back Stretches:
Stretches help to improve muscle flexibility and reduce soreness. This is important especially when a person’s occupation involves heavy lifting, or prolonged standing, etc.. Here are a few stretches that can help relieve back pain.
- Isometric Exercises:
This helps to reduce the pain constantly if done correctly. You can perform this in standing, sitting, while walking at any time of the day. You can perform a couple of sets in the morning prior to starting your day. Here is an article that talks about back isometrics in detail.
- Heat Therapy:
Heat does wonders with soreness and stiffness. you can apply heat to reduce the back stiffness if you don’t have an open area or infection in the body. You can check out other pain management options that you can perform at home to reduce pain.
If you have muscle weakness and nothing works for you then back braces are the options to go. Typically, braces are not recommended during night time. But if you have a tendency to pull your muscles due to uncertain positioning while asleep, braces will support your back as well as neck and prevent those pulls from happening.
Here are a few back braces that can help.
When nothing works:
So this is a very general topic for morning back pain. Let’s say you tried these all and still nothing works, or you have a history of prolapsed disc or sciatica etc, and you are at the point that you just cannot tolerate your pain. Please visit your primary physician or consult a physical therapist in your area. Physical therapists are the musculoskeletal and pain specialties. They will perform their detail assessment in order to guide you in the right direction. Physicians can also rule out any medical issues from musculoskeletal problems. And they can either treat the symptoms or refer you to the right disciplines.