Why do I wake up with lower back pain? | Total Performance Physical Therapy |January 17, 2019
Waking up with low back pain/soreness/stiffness is something that many people must deal with every morning. Why when you go to bed and you’re supposed to wake up refreshed and feeling good do so many of us wake up with pain or stiffness or soreness.
Sometimes this pain/stiffness/soreness goes away in a few minutes. It will go away with just a few steps in the morning or a hot shower. Sometimes it will take minutes and hours for the back to loosen up and to feel better. What most people will find is that it is only one more here and there that they feel stiffness/pain/soreness but then it becomes every morning and it takes longer and longer to go away. That is a sign of a problem that’s getting much worse.
It important to understand if you are waking up with back pain it is a sign of a problem. Now, if you’re traveling or if you fall asleep in a weird position or if you sleep on the couch in a different bed, then it is completely normal to wake up with a stiffer back. That is not really an indication of a problem.
Waking up with low back pain/stiffness/soreness is usually the first place that chronic back pain starts. Most people think that chronic back pain starts with a car accident or some horrible accident. But most back pain that people find won’t go away did not start with a trauma, it starts to with back pain in the morning when you wake up that slowly starts showing up every day and takes longer and longer to go away until it doesn’t go away.
Another thing people often will do is write this off to arthritis. Whether it is soreness, stiffness or painful when you wake up with it in the morning most people blame it on arthritis. And if you go and get an X-ray, the X-ray will agree with you, there will be arthritis. So, people will think, that’s it is just arthritis and I’m getting old. But that is not the case, not with back pain in the morning. If you have gotten a good night’s sleep and you slept in proper position and you wake up in your bed and you have pain, then you can’t write that off as arthritis.
There are a few reasons that you wake up with back pain/stiffness/soreness. The first reason usually has to do with the muscles and the muscles having knots in them. And when you have knots and you don’t move a lot during the night, blood does not get to the muscles and they get sore.
It is important that when you go to bed for the night you want to make sure that you’re set up in a proper posture, otherwise you are going to wind up with a stiff back. If you are sleeping on your back, make sure there are several pillows under your knees and if you sleep on your side you should have a pillow between your knees. This can help alleviate the back pain in the soreness.
When you don’t sleep in proper posture this will affect the muscles. It is important to understand that the pain and soreness that you wake up with is a muscle issue and it generally will get worse over time, even if it goes right away. It is important to put a side note in here now that if you wake up with numbness and tingling, that is not normal and needs to be looked at immediately.
Another reason that you wake up and you’re sore is most often because of the daily activities that you have done. Whether it be and how you lifted wrong or you sat too long, or you stood too long, all that takes its toll on your back.
If you sit in a slouched position, for example at your desk or at work, you’re placing the highest amount of pressure you can put on your discs. So not only are you not moving and you’re sitting slumped over this will cause you to have pain when you wake up. Your back may not hurt during the day, but it will cause you pain later.
You will need to stand up and move throughout the day. They don’t have to be long breaks, but you do need to move. Standing up and shifting your weight will help. Standing up and walking around the chair will help. The longer you stay in one position the worse it is for your back and your muscles.
The tough thing about having a back pain that shows up in the morning is what did you do yesterday? What caused this? And you know, you have to kind of go back and weed through some things and most of the time it’s a combination of things. You want to do is you’re waking up with a stiff back when you need to kind of go backwards and see exactly what you’ve done the day before.
Here are a series of questions to ask yourself, a way to take inventory of the day before to see why you may wake up with back pain.
- Did you sit too long?
- Is your computer setup correctly at work?
- Are you sitting in front of a laptop correctly?
- Did you bend over and pick up a million things?
- Were you lifting things?
- Were you watching your posture?
- Did you squat down to pick things off the floor?
Watch the video below to find out more.
The most important thing to understand is that waking up with low back pain is a sign of a problem and it is a very gentle warming sign that things need to change. If you are looking for lower back physical therapy in North Wales, lower back physical therapy in Norristown or Lower back physical therapy in Hatfield or the surrounding area, then click here to claim your back pain toolkit!