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Why Does My Lower Back Feel Stiff

Causes Of Back Stiffness After Sleeping & Its Treatment Exercises

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Back stiffness after sleeping is one of the most common problems. It causes backache or back pain in most of the people. Back stiffness arises in the back muscles from increased tension in the muscle tissue. Stiff back after sleeping may occur in the upper back and/or the lower back region. It can range from mild constant ache to a sudden sharp pain. The increased muscle tension results from trauma, overuse and poor posture. Generally, back stiffness after sleeping is not caused by a serious condition and it disappears within few days or weeks.

Is It Normal To Wake Up With Back Stiffness

YES. YES. YES. Now just because its normal doesnt mean its optimal. The normal American diet consists of processed and fast foods, though we all know that those foods are not the best for us. Plenty of people wake up in the morning with stiffness in the neck and low back. In fact, I see it every day. Is it healthy for your body to wake up stiff and in pain? Not particularly. Does it mean there is something catastrophically and irreversibly wrong? No. Fortunately, just like our diets, we have control over the state of well-being in our bodies, and there ARE ways we can prevent this pesky morning back stiffness. But first, we must identify the causes

Four Common Reasons For A Stiff Back

We live busy, active lives. In our average day we deal with stress and anxiety that can live in our muscles and make us feel tense. But when is a stiff back caused by an underlying condition beyond tension? Knowing some of the possible causes for back stiffness can help you and your doctor determine the best treatment for you.

While its true that sometimes back stiffness can be caused by a disc disorder, chronic condition, or aging process, the stiffness could also be rooted in a muscular issue that may not even be in your actual back. Here are some muscular conditions that may cause back stiffness:

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Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain When Walking

If youre experiencing pain in your lower back when walking, you may have felt some of these symptoms already.

Pay attention to what your back is telling you. What type of discomfort are you feeling? Is it dull pain? Is it shooting pain? Identifying the type of pain will help your doctor figure out whats going on.

Also, pay attention to where you feel the pain. Is it in one specific area? Is it acute pain that radiates across your lower back?

The type of pain and its location may help you and your doctor determine whats going on.

If you are experiencing lower back pain when walking, here are some pain symptoms you may be feeling:

  • Stiffness

Your Joints May Need A Quick Warm Up

Why does my lower back feel tight and sore ...

If you have underlying joint or back pain, morning stiffness can be especially problematic, as your joints may take longer to warm up after sleep. You see, your joints depend on joint fluid for lubrication and smooth movements, but during sleep your cartilage essentially soaks up this fluid . When you wake up and bend your knees, for example, this movement squeezes the cartilage, causing the joint fluid to come out and surround the joint once again.

Ideally, and if your joints are healthy, this should happen in an instant . However, if your cartilage is in any stage of deterioration, meaning you have less of it than you should, or its damaged, youll also have less joint fluid . Not only does this often lead to stiffness upon waking but also pain.

Once your joints have warmed up, however, they will often begin to feel better, which is why doing some light stretching, even before you get out of bed, may be helpful.

As reported by MedlinePlus:

The phrase morning stiffness refers to the pain and stiffness you may feel when you first wake up in the morning. Stiffness usually lasts for 30 minutes or less. It is improved by mild activity that warms up the joint.

Read Also: Can A Mattress Cause Back Pain

Exercises For Back Stiffness After Sleeping

To improve muscle balance and prevent back stiffness from occurring in future, a combination of exercises is very effective in management of back stiffness after sleeping or any activities of daily living. These include aerobic conditioning, stretching, twisting, strengthening, static and dynamic leg raise, glute stretches, dead lifts, abs and rope crunches, fitness ball wrap, and hyperextension with fitness ball and so forth. Further the exercise of Standing Hip shift has been advised.

Many exercises can be performed to treat the problem of back stiffness. This physical activity relieves tightness and imbalance in lumbar spine, muscles of lower back and hip muscles. Performing these exercises daily helps to keep the back healthy, develop endurance, flexibility and become strong. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of aerobic conditioning every week, along with stretching and strengthening 2 to 3 days per week. However, before practicing any exercise one should consult a doctor or a physical therapist to know which ones are appropriate to be followed and to what extent they are needed. All the above mentioned exercises need not be performed since they can do more damage than good if overdone.

What Research Is Being Done

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

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When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • Back pain after a severe blow or fall
  • Burning with urination or blood in your urine
  • History of cancer
  • Loss of control over urine or stool
  • Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
  • Pain that is worse when you lie down or pain that wakes you up at night
  • Redness or swelling on the back or spine
  • Severe pain that does not allow you to get comfortable
  • Unexplained fever with back pain
  • Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis

Also call if:

  • You have been losing weight unintentionally
  • You use steroids or intravenous drugs
  • You have had back pain before, but this episode is different and feels worse
  • This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks

Waking Up With Joint Stiffness And Lower Back Pain 4 Reasons Why It Happens

Does your lower back feel tight during and after a run? Part 1 of 4

A full nights sleep should help you feel rejuvenated when you wake and are ready to face the day. So why do you sometimes wake up with stiff joints and a sore lower back? Unless you have known back issues or an injury that contributes to poorer sleep, morning aches and pains are both confusing and frustrating.

There are plenty of reasons for sore joints and lower back stiffness. Its important to drill down to what the root cause is for you. Luckily, we know a thing or two about mattresses and quality sleep. Below are the four most common causes for morning sorenessand what you can do about them.

Your Sleep Position is Out of Whack

We tend to fall asleep in roughly the same position every nightand each sleep position has a different effect on your body. Simply put, not all sleep positions are created equal, which may account for some of your pain.

People who sleep on their stomachs are most prone to experience back and joint pain since this position pulls the spine out of alignment. Additionally, the twisting and contorting that stomach sleepers do to get comfortable can put extra pressure on the neck, lower back and jawwhich can even lead to poorer circulation. Most sleep experts recommend that stomach sleepers try to train their bodies to sleep on their sides, usually by propping their trunks up with a pillow.

Your Pillow Isnt Cutting It

Your Mattress is Too Soft, Or Too Firm

You Need to Switch Up Your Bed’s Foundation

Also Check: What Is Good For Upper Back Pain

What Are The Treatments For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain usually gets better with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. After a few days of rest, you can start to get back to your normal activities. Staying active increases blood flow to the area and helps you heal.

Other treatments for lower back pain depend on the cause. They include:

  • Medications: Your provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve pain. Other medications relax muscles and prevent back spasms.
  • Physical therapy : PT can strengthen muscles so they can support your spine. PT also improves flexibility and helps you avoid another injury.
  • Hands-on manipulation: Several hands-on treatments can relax tight muscles, reduce pain and improve posture and alignment. Depending on the cause of pain, you may need osteopathic manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. Massage therapy can also help with back pain relief and restore function.
  • Injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject medication into the area thats causing pain. Steroid injections relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: Some injuries and conditions need surgical repair. There are several types of surgery for low back pain, including many minimally invasive techniques.

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.

Read Also: Can Chiropractor Fix Lower Back Pain

Get Exercise Throughout The Day

Regular exercise throughout the day is key to alleviating back pain. Walking is among the best exercises, and you should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day. However, anything that gets you moving and on your feet can help keep your back strong.

Also, if you have an office job that involves sitting, its important to take frequent breaks. Stand up at least once every 30 minutes and stretch. Standing desks can also help keep the pressure off your back during the day at work so you wont suffer the consequences the next morning.

Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Back

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When Running?

If you have arthritis in your back, its important to understand the type of arthritis that might be causing it. Different types of arthritis have specific medications and treatments. Here are some of the more common types of arthritis that affect the back.

It is common for people with back pain to have more than one cause, which could include arthritis as well as other causes .

Also Check: How To Remedy Lower Back Pain

Sharp Pain In The Lower Back And Hip On One Side

A shooting and sharp pain felt on one side on your lower back and hip may be caused by muscle spasm, joint dysfunction, and/or nerve compression in the region. Common conditions that cause this type of pain are discussed below.

Spasm of the piriformis muscle located deep in the buttock may cause 5:

  • Moderate to severe lower back, hip, and buttock pain
  • Referred pain that may extend into the back of the thigh
  • Inability to sit for a long time

The pain is typically felt on one side and may be worsened by hip movements, such as when getting out of bed.5

Piriformis syndrome is commonly caused by overactivity of the hip rotator muscles or sitting on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time. An injury to the buttock may also cause this pain.6

Read more: What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Sitting With Your Spine Curved Forward

When you sit for a long time, the following changes occur in your spine:

  • Increased pressure within each spinal segment3
  • Reduced strength in the muscles of your upper and lower back3,4
  • Decreased nutrient supply to the spinal tissues3

When you sit on the edge of your chair or hunch towards your computer, the strain on your spine is moreand can cause stiffness and pain.

See Identifying Incorrect Posture

A sedentary lifestyle can exacerbate these changes, causing spinal stiffness to develop within an hour of sitting.4

To avoid back stiffness, use an upright sitting posture. Roll your shoulders back with the ears over the shoulders and the upper arms parallel to your torso. While sitting in an office chair try to avoid constant use of the backrest and sit upright to activate your core muscles.

Recommended Reading: How To Treat Neck And Back Pain

The Scariest Type Of Morning Back Pain: Inflammatory Back Pain

The closest thing to back pain that is truly prominent in the morning is inflammatory back pain , or spondyloarthritis.3 Although IBP is well known to medical science, it often eludes diagnosis, its biology is mysterious, and morning symptoms specifically are a stumper, as unexplained as joints that ache before a storm. Its just something IBP does.

But dont panic! Although studies have confirmed that morning is a common time for inflammatory back pain to flare up, they have also shown that the connection is not strong or exclusive.4 In fact, most morning stiffness and pain is not pathologically inflammatory. Its just that IBP is the only official morning back pain culprit.

The pain of IBP tends to be quite severe. If its not actually waking you up, its probably not IBP, or its a minor case.

When should you consider the possibility of IBP? Basically if your morning back is particularly bad: nasty and very consistent morning symptoms. The diagnosis is also more likely if you have other signs of this kind of back pain. Heres a good inflammatory back pain quiz, and heres my own quick checklist of reasons to ask your doctor about spondyloarthritis:5

Normal Range Of Motion Is Almost Meaningless

How To Cure Back Stiffness In The Morning

Range of motion is the only clear objective measure of flexibility. You can measure it with a protractor.7 Limited ROM can be confirmed in joints that actually cannot move as far as they should be able to move.

Which is how far, exactly? Human averages are almost meaningless, because the range of natural variation is quite large.8 A better measurement might be how much you want or need a joint to move for instance, gymnasts need ROM more than accountants do. However, a desired or perceived need for ROM is not a good standard either, because so many people assume that their range is worse or more abnormal than it actually is, and because they assume that more range is better than it is.

Abnormal is normal. There is an extraordinary amount of non-pathological anatomical variation in humans. There are many interesting examples.9

Also Check: Does Losing Weight Help With Back Pain

What Are The Symptoms Of Back Pain

Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their lives. The causes of back pain are numerous some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.

Symptoms of back pain can include:

  • Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the tail bone
  • Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back — especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity
  • Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods
  • Back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes
  • Inability to stand straight without having pain or muscle spasms in the lower back

Questions To Ask The Doctor About Medications:

  • What will the medication do?
  • How long will it take before I notice results?
  • What is the name of the medication? Is there a generic brand?
  • Are there side effects I should know about?
  • How should I take the medication ?
  • How often should I take the medication?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose at the specified time?
  • Let your doctor know if you are taking other medications. Sometimes certain medications cannot be taken together.

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Why Do I Have Trouble Straightening My Back After Sitting

Karena Every Other Little Thing

Creep. Yep. Just one simple word. Our backs hurt after sitting because of Creep. You can blame it all on your Creepy Low Back.

Believe it or not, creep is actually a technical term. Creep refers to what happens to your low back muscles when you sit. Sitting for periods of time causes the low back muscles to stretch or creep into a longer position.

When you stand, the muscles dont retract to their normal position right away. If you have trouble straightening after you have been sitting for awhile then you are very aware of that fact. Those cases are extreme, though. Everyone, though, experiences creep. The muscles eventually bounce back to their functional length.

Interesting, though, is that those who have experienced low back pain take a very long time for those muscles to retract to their normal length. For a normal spine, 80% of the creep is gone after two minutes or so of standing. Someone with low back pain? Or even a history of back pain? Wow. The time for the muscles to retract can be up to 7 hours!!


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