When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone with severe or worsening back pain, particularly after a fall or injury, should speak with a doctor. Also, do so if any back pain gets worse after resting or sleeping.
Seek immediate medical guidance if back pain is accompanied by any of the following:
- numbness in the legs, buttocks, or groin areas
- difficulty passing urine
- a loss of bladder or bowel control
- unexpected weight loss
If back pain is causing long-term lack of sleep, speak with a doctor about treatment options and other strategies that can help.
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How Does A Mattress Topper Help With Low Back Pain
For a mattress which is too firm, adding a softer mattress topper helps relieve stress on your pressure points.
Generally, you want a topper which is slightly less firm than the mattress. For example, if your mattress has a firmness of medium-firm, you would add a topper that is medium . Of course, if you sleep better with an even softer topper, then by all means, you should go for it!
Also, the mattress topper should not be too thick because you dont want the softness of the topper to negate the support of the firmer mattress underneath.
Material-wise, I dont see a clear cut winner on Sleeplikethedead. But latex and polyfoam seem to be fan favorites on Reddit. Per usual, just test it out and return til you find something that feels right.
The 6 Big Causes Of Morning Back Pain
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How Is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed
Your provider will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam. To check for broken bones or other damage, your provider may order imaging studies. These studies help your provider see clear pictures of your vertebrae, disks, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Your provider may order:
- Spine X-ray, which uses radiation to produce images of bones.
- MRI, which uses a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
- CT scan, which uses X-rays and a computer to create 3D images of bones and soft tissues.
Depending on the cause of pain, your provider may also order blood tests or urine tests. Blood tests can detect genetic markers for some conditions that cause back pain . Urine tests check for kidney stones, which cause pain in the flank .
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The Cause Of Back Pain While Sleeping
Your sleep-induced back pain is likely caused by a misalignment of your spine. Most of us dont have perfect posture and our activities throughout the day can begin to tighten muscles in our backs that result in pain while we sleep.
For example, sitting all day can cause the muscles in the hips to tighten, leading to an over-curvature of the spine around the lower back. Or slouching might cause the muscles in the shoulders to tighten, resulting in pain in the upper back.
Certain sleeping positions can exacerbate this tightness. The fetal position that many of us find most comfortable tends to introduce more curvature to the spine and too much straightness to the legs.
Sleeping on the back can cause the lower back to arch. Sleeping on the stomach can push the hips back, leading again to curvature of the lower back. All of this stress on the spine and surrounding muscles can lead to tightness and pain upon waking up or even during the night.
Do You Have Lower Back Pain In The Morning
Some people find that their back pain is worse in the morning, while others have more pain at the end of a long workday. Its important to pay attention to the times when your pain spikes because it could be an indication of the cause of your pain.
Its estimated that about 65 million people in the United States have experienced recent back pain, with about 16 million people having chronic back pain problems. When this pain persists, it can disrupt all aspects of daily living, making it hard to keep up with your responsibilities at home and work.
Not only does back pain make it difficult to get through the day, but this health concern can also be expensive. Direct costs include doctors visits, therapy appointments, pain medication, massage, and other services to reduce or eliminate the pain. Indirect costs of chronic back pain include missed work or lost opportunities because you arent feeling up to the job.
Even though back pain is a common complaint, you dont have to suffer from this discomfort indefinitely. Modern medical treatments might be used to help you manage the pain, so you can return to a normal, healthy lifestyle once again.
Every situation is unique, so the treatment outcomes vary. The most important step is to identify the root cause of your back pain. Then, a customized treatment plan can be designed to alleviate your discomfort.
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Your Sleep Position Could Be Causing Your Back Pain
Theres never a moment during your waking hours that your back isnt performing some critical role from supporting your body to providing range of motion. So the last thing you want to do is create problems for this important structure while you sleep which is the one time your back should be allowed to rest. Unfortunately, many people are doing just that because of poor sleeping positions.
At Mass Ave Chiropractic, Dr. Joe Kielur and our team understand the foundational role that your spine plays in your overall musculoskeletal health and why its important to take extra care when it comes to your back. To that end, weve pulled together a few points on sleeping positions and how they can either cause or relieve back pain.
What Are Common Causes Of Lower Back Pain While Sleeping
Lower back pain while sleeping can stem from a variety of back issues. A previous injury, poor posture, sitting for extended periods of time throughout the day, and even certain sleeping positions can cause pain, which can in turn lead to sleeping issues such as insomnia. While sleeping position is a common cause of lower back pain, activities during the day are more often the cause. A person may get some relief by changing his daily routines and modifying his sleeping habits to better support the spine.
The position in which a person sleeps can lead to stress on the muscles in the lower back, especially if the spine is not supported in its natural position. Lying on the stomach can lead to abnormal positioning of the spine, which will in turn place strain on the muscles surrounding the spine. This will lead to lower back pain, though sleeping on the stomach is not the only position in which this is possible. Just about all positions, in fact, may cause pain if the mattress the person sleeps on is not supportive enough to keep the spine in position or if the mattress is too stiff and does not flex enough to allow the spine to curve naturally.
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Why Is Back Pain Worse In The Morning
Even if youre an early bird, getting out of bed when you suffer from back pain can be daunting. As many patients know, a sunrise can leave them stiff, sore and wondering why they have morning back pain.
For many patients, morning back pain isnt a symptom of a larger spinal issue, but a manifestation of other bad habits. Before seeking professional help consider common environmental causes of back pain:
- Bad Mattress: Firm bedding supports your spine better through the night, and well-worn, cratered mattresses may aggravate your back while you sleep.
- Poor Sleep Position: Sleeping on your stomach causes your lower back to extend, placing it under pressure. Side sleepers who dont bend their knees may also be irritating their backs as they sleep.
- Poor Ergonomics: Bad posture? Work in a bad environment? Your ergonomics may take a toll on your back that worsens at night when youre still.
If youve sorted out the environmental factors that contributes to morning back pain, it might be a medical condition that causes those achy mornings. Youll need to seek a professional diagnosis for treatment options, but you may suffer from:
Morning back pain can have many contributing factors, so consulting with experts at Front Range Orthopedics & Spine in our three locations Longmont, Lafayette and Frederick can help you locate the root of your pain and treat it.
When Should You See A Doctor About Lower Back Pain
Back pain is common and often recedes quickly, but its important to talk with a doctor if:
- The pain began with a specific injury
- Pain continues or worsens for more than a few days
- Pain is debilitating
- Pain radiates to the legs or other parts of the body
- You experience weakness or numbness in your lower body
- There are signs of infection like redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
- You have a personal history of cancer
- You have other unexplained health changes like weight loss or urinary problems
A doctor can review your symptoms and determine the appropriate next steps for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
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Connecting Inflammaging To The Curse Of Morning Back Pain
This is an interesting topic, but does it have anything to do with morning pain or back pain specifically?
The morning connection isnt much of a reach: for whatever reason, inflammatory diseases are notoriously morning-o-centric , and so its reasonable to assume that less serious inflammation has a thing for the morning too. We also know only just recently that the body can suppress inflammation at night, pumping out an anti-inflammatory protein on a schedule,11 which probably accounts for some morning pain and stiffness as the suppression wears off. No one knows anything about how to actually control that effect, but at least we know it exists.
The back connection is trickier. Being overweight is less of a risk factor for back pain than most people think,12 so theres no obvious association with metabolic syndrome. If there is a connection, it might be that the spinal joints are among the first structures to be affected by inflammation and not necessarily because they are more fragile or harder working than, say, knees, but perhaps because the brain is quite over-protective about the back, and more likely to raise the alarm sooner.13 Also, we do know that metabolic syndrome is associated with at least some common pain problems, like neck pain.14
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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Tips For Side Sleepers
Put a Pillow or Knee Wedge Between Your Legs
For side sleepers in particular, you want to make sure your spine doesnt twist or contort. To avoid twisting the spine, you want to keep your hips stacked on top of each other and everything pointing in the same direction: face, torso, pelvis, knees, etc. A couple simple solutions for this:
- Sleeping with pillow between legs. A pillow helps keep your top leg from rotating inwards and adding a twist to your spine, which can cause sciatica pain.
- If a pillow works for you, Id suggest taking a look at a specialized product like a knee wedge, which can do a better job since a pillow can lose its shape over the course of the night.
Add Cushioning to Your Side
The McKenzie sleep roll wraps around your torso. The idea behind it is to give your body something to rest against so that your spine can stay aligned.
The downsides are that it might be distracting if you are a light sleeper and maybe it interferes with sexy time. Or maybe the McKenzie sleep roll is a turn-on for you and your partner. Who knows. What am I saying. Moving on!
Whats New In This Article
Seventeen updates have been logged for this article since publication . All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. moreWhens the last time you read a blog post and found a list of many changes made to that page since publication? Like good footnotes, this sets PainScience.com apart from other health websites and blogs. Although footnotes are more useful, the update logs are important. They are fine print, but more meaningful than most of the comments that most Internet pages waste pixels on. I log any change to articles that might be of interest to a keen reader. Complete update logging of all noteworthy improvements to all articles started in 2016. Prior to that, I only logged major updates for the most popular and controversial articles.See the Whats New? page for updates to all recent site updates.
2020 New section, Poor quality sleep and insomnia are probably major causes of morning back pain. Also made some minor improvements to the introduction and article summary.
2020 Comprehensive editing. Re-wrote the summary. Refined advice on treating inflammation. Explained fibromyalgia more clearly and accurately. Added more about mattresses. Improved organization, in-document navigation, and added a few sprinkles of humour.
2018 Significant science update: cited Steffens on back pain risk factors, a fascinating study that adds some important data to this article.
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Why Pain In This Region Matters
Morning pain in your lower back is usually an indication of several health factors. It may be due to certain lifestyle habits likes carrying extra weight or living a sedentary life. This may cause repeated wear and tear on the muscles on your lower back while placing addition pressure and strain.
Repetitive motions like improper lifting and twisting can damage the tissue and muscles that help movement. And excessive standing without rest, can add pressure on your spinal column.
Mechanical issues that contribute to pain in your lower back while walking or standing can be described when functionality is limited when different components of the spinal column begin to fail. If you have a disease that is impacting the health of your spine, you can experience pain when these regions of the body begin to disintegrate.
Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain
You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.
To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
- Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.
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