Lower back pain in the morning is one of the most common ailments worldwide. Individuals both young and old often wake up with sore and stiff backs. Though morning back pain can be highly uncomfortable, it is, in many cases, preventable. By changing your daily habits and modifying your sleeping environment, you can achieve relief from recurrent morning backaches.
Causes of Lower Back Pain Every Morning
Most individuals with back pain that’s worse in the morning find themselves asking “Why am I waking up with lower back pain?” Though answering this question may take some time, the answer will likely help you prevent future back problems.
If you are experiencing lower back pain in the morning only, it is highly likely that the way you are sleeping is causing your discomfort. One of the most common causes of morning lower back pain is an improper sleeping position. Individuals who sleep on their stomachs tend to experience the most pain.
Patients who regularly sleep on their side or back may still find that they are struggling with a sore or stiff back every morning. If this is the case, it is probable that your mattress is contributing to your pain. Sleeping on an old or excessively soft mattress may contribute to greater pain, higher stress levels, and reduced energy and focus throughout the day.
Back pain can sometimes be made worse by other environmental factors and sleeping habits. Sleeping for prolonged periods of time, for instance, can lead to greater back pain. Getting out of bed in an improper manner can lead to back pain after sleeping, too.
It is also possible that your habits and behaviors throughout the day are resulting in low back pain. Living a sedentary lifestyle, sitting in poorly-supported chairs, and wearing high-heeled shoes are just a few common behaviors that often lead to back pain.
Occasionally, back pain that occurs when sleeping or after waking up can be a sign of a more serious health condition. In most instances, however, these forms of back pain will persist and last throughout the day.
Sometimes, for instance, pain in the kidneys can feel like back pain. Unlike lower back pain, however, kidney pain is generally located deeper in the back and higher up, beneath the ribcage. Kidney pain may be a sign of a urinary tract infection or kidney stones.
If you suffer from a chronic lower back pain condition, you may also wake up with greater pain in the morning. If you suffer from degenerative disc disease or sciatica, for instance, you may find that your pain is worse after sleeping. Changing your mattress or sleeping position may help prevent excessive morning soreness. Your doctor may be able to offer you more advice regarding treatment for your specific health condition.
If your morning back pain is particularly severe, schedule an appointment with your doctor. A health professional can help you discover the source of your pain.
How to Prevent Morning Lower Back Pain
In most cases, lower back pain that occurs in the morning only can be managed through lifestyle changes.
Some of the best ways to eliminate morning back pain include:
• Changing your sleeping position (particularly if you are a stomach-sleeper)
Sleeping on your stomach may lead to excess pressure on the spine. By sleeping on your back or side, you can reduce your chance of developing tightness or soreness in the lower back.
• Purchasing a new and more supportive mattress
Buying a new, firm mattress is one of the most reliable ways to reduce back pain. Most individuals are sleeping on mattresses that do not provide them with adequate spinal support. A better mattress will lead to improved sleep quality and reduced pain.
• Engaging in more stretching and exercise throughout the day
Back pain is often caused by a sedentary lifestyle. By exercising and stretching more throughout the day, you can strengthen and relax the muscles in your back.
• Maintaining a healthy diet
A healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean protein may help reduce inflammation throughout the body, decreasing back pain. A nutrient-packed diet will also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial to keeping the back in good shape.
• Quitting smoking
Smoking can reduce blood flow to the spinal region, increasing lower back pain. Quitting smoking can therefore reduce your pain and prevent other health issues from arising.
• Sleeping the recommended amount of time (7-9 hours per night)
Not sleeping for enough hours per night may prevent your body from getting the restorative rest it needs, leading to greater pain throughout the day. Sleeping too much, however, is also bad for the body. You may be extra sore if you spend more than nine hours a night in bed. Therefore, sleeping the recommended number of hours per night is the best choice for back pain sufferers.
• Getting out of bed safely
Getting out of bed in the right way is crucial to preventing back strain. Instead of jerking yourself out of bed, roll over onto your side. Bend your knees and push yourself into a sitting position using your hands. Slide your legs over the edge of the bed while doing this. Getting out of bed in this manner will prevent you from straining your lower back muscles.
• Maintaining good posture throughout the day
Our posture throughout the day is one of the most important factors affecting our spinal health. Sitting up straight can help reduce the amount of back pain you experience during the day and at night.
• Sitting in ergonomically-friendly chairs
If you are sitting in a chair that offers poor support during the day, your back will likely remain stiff and sore throughout the night. Investing in a supportive desk chair and arranging your office in an ergonomically-friendly set-up will support your posture and prevent back strain.
• Wearing supportive, low-heeled shoes
If you wear stilettos to work every day, you may want to switch to flats to reduce your back strain. Lower-heeled shoes with good arch support are generally the best option for maintaining a healthy back.
• Reducing heavy-lifting
Unless your job requires it, consider reducing the amount of heavy lifting you are doing. Carrying heavy objects with poor form may be causing pulled muscles and tightness. This muscle pain may lead to flare-ups during the night and morning.
• Enjoying an occasional massage
Back pain is often caused by tight muscles and knots in the back. A good massage can help reduce tension in the back, allowing you to wake up refreshed and pain-free.
By making positive lifestyle changes like these, you can drastically reduce your chances of suffering from morning back pain.
Sleeping Positions & Back Pain
To reduce your lower back pain, try sleeping on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your side, try putting a towel or pillow between your knees to reduce hip strain. Avoid sleeping with one leg higher than the other, as this can twist the pelvis, causing back strain. Sleeping on the back is another good position for back pain sufferers. The legs should be kept straight for optimal spinal alignment and comfort.
Maintaining a good sleeping position is one of the surest ways of reducing morning back pain.
Mattresses & Back Pain
A medium-firm mattress is generally the ideal firmness for back pain sufferers. Though many individuals believe that they sleep well on a soft mattress, studies have shown that firmer mattresses are almost always better for the back. Though a soft mattress may feel good while you’re falling asleep, a firmer mattress will provide your muscles with the support they need during the night.
Whether you choose a bed made from innersprings or memory foam, a new mattress is sure to reduce your aches and pains.
Though lower back pain in the morning is a common health complaint, it is generally easy to treat. By altering some of your habits and creating an optimal sleeping environment for yourself, you can banish morning back pain for good.