What Is Nighttime Back Pain
The majority of people with back pain are able to adjust how they sleep to get relief from the pain they experience during the day. But with nighttime back pain — also called nocturnal back pain — the hurting doesn’t stop when a person lies down, no matter what adjustments they make. For some, the pain actually gets worse. And for others, the pain doesn’t even start until they lie down.
A person can actually go through a day virtually pain-free. But then at night, they might find it nearly impossible to get a full night’s sleep.
Poor Quality Sleep And Insomnia Are Probably Major Causes Of Morning Back Pain
Dont get me wrong: some people sleep just fine and still have morning back pain. But poor quality sleep and pain tend definitely to go together,15 and mornings can be the roughest part of that link.
The more interesting question is the chicken/egg thing: which comes first? Pain or sleeplessness? Once you have both insomnia and pain, they surely cause each other, but one side of that equation is probably more important than the other, like a cyclist pushing much harder on one pedal than the other.
In 2017, Gerhart et al studied the which-came-first question of pain and insomnia in 105 chronic low back pain patients.16 Their subjects bravely filled out five detailed questionnaires per day for two weeks thats quite a lot of paperwork tracking and rating many aspects of their pain and sleep quality. The goal was to study lagged temporal associations: what tends to happen after what? Are bad sleeps often followed by bad days with back pain? Are rough days with back pain followed by lousy sleeps?
Yes and no to those two questions.
Poorer sleep was strongly linked to everything being worse which is about as surprising as a dog barking at a squirrel. Its the timing of that relationship that this study zoomed in on, and not only did a bad night clearly herald trouble across the board the next day more pain, more disability, more doom and gloom but especially during the early part of the day.
Whenyour Back Pain Could Be A More Serious Medical Problem
There are a few ways to tellthe difference between spinal stenosis and something more serious:
- Pain that gets worse when going uphill is more common with peripheral arterial disease, a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels leading to the your limbs.
- Arterial disease patients dont get relief from the grocery cart position.
- If your symptoms are worse at night but better with exercise, neuropathy may be to blame.
- In younger people, morning stiffness that lasts longer than 30 minutes and gets worse with stillness may be a sign of inflammatory arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis.
- Other unexplained symptoms such as weight loss and fatigue may be signs of a cancerous growth very rare, but absolutely worth looking into.
Serious issues such asmalignancies or abdominal aortic aneurysms rarely present with spine symptoms,Dr. Khalaf says, but sometimes they do. Theyre serious enough that rulingthem out is important.
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Here Are A Few Other Tips That Might Make It Easier For You To Get Through The Day:
- Morning Stretching: Wake up your muscles and joints by gently stretching before you get out of bed. Bring your knees to your chest to get a lower-back stretch. Also, stretch your arms above your head and reach your feet in the opposite direction. Pay attention to the tight areas of your body, then talk to a physical therapist or doctor about the stretches that could help your situation.
- Core Strength: Building the muscles in your core can improve your overall body structure, helping to reduce the back pain you are experiencing. No, were not talking about hundreds of crunches each day because certain ab exercises can exacerbate the problem. A physical therapist can provide personalized recommendations, which might include planks, stretching, gentle cardio, and other tips to support the overall structure of your body.
- Medications: When the pain is intense, then medication can provide immediate relief to dull the discomfort. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen. For severe back pain, prescription medications can sometimes be used. But you need to be careful to avoid dependence on these pain relievers. Medication should be used as a short-term strategy until you can address the root problem.
Treatment Options If You Already Have Back Pain
If youre already suffering from back pain or spinal injuries, there are a variety of treatment options available. Some involve the use of sports medicine, others involve spinal surgeons, and then there are options that cater to our bodys natural ability to heal itself.
Which option is best for you is far too broad of a question to answer in a single article. Regardless of your condition, you should always seek out medical advice from a doctor or other medical professional.
In our program Hit It Great, we go over many different exercises designed to strengthen specific muscles and help keep the doctor away! Pay attention to your body and make sure youre not pushing yourself past your limit and causing significant pain and even permanent damage to your back.
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Here’s Coach Joey D with his take on the golf swing, back pain, pre-hab and how you can stay ahead of the curve:
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What Can I Do To Help With The Pain
Try not to do things that make the pain worse, like sitting for a long time, lifting heavy objects, or bending or twisting.
Stick to your normal activities as much as you can. Gentle exercise like walking helps you get better more quickly.
Some over-the-counter medicines can help pain or swelling. These include ibuprofen , naproxen , and acetaminophen . Your doctor may give you medicine to help with pain or muscle spasms.
Try using heating pads or taking a warm bath or shower.
Your doctor can show you some gentle exercises to help stretch your back and make the muscles stronger.
A physical therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor may help with your pain and make you feel better.
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.
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What Is Active Physical Therapy
Active physical therapy involves movement-based activities like: stretching, range of motion exercises, and targeted spine strengthening and conditioning exercises.
The movements and exercises are designed to address those underlying causes of chronic back pain so you can strengthen your back, condition your muscles and improve your mobility.
When You Should Go To The Er For Back Pain
If your back pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, head to your closest emergency room because you could be dealing with a more serious condition or injury:
- Sudden spike in pain, discomfort, weakness or numbness
- Loss of bladder function
- Unexplainable weight loss
- The pain results from a fall or severe blow to your back
If you experience any of these symptoms, its a good idea to talk to your doctor so you can determine next steps for managing pain.
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Technically Ibp Causes Night Back Pain Not Morning Back Pain
The morning pain of IBP is actually a case of leftover nighttime symptoms, which wear off as you wake up and get moving. When the symptoms are milder, you will mostly sleep through them, noticing them only when you wake up. But these symptoms will usually be obvious while you are still in bed, as soon as you are conscious or even waking you up early.
In contrast, pain that you dont notice until you actually get up and start trying to move around is less likely to be inflammatory in nature. But these are rules of thumb only, of course theres always lots of exceptions in biology.
Doctors, do not actually try giving this advice to patients! Joke by 9GAG .
What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems
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You’re Wearing The Wrong Shoes
Flats aren’t as good for you as you might think. If you don’t have enough support for the arch in your foot, your back won’t get the support it needs to move safely. The age of your shoes needs to be evaluated as well. Old, worn-out pairs could be the culprit of your lower back pain. Finally, if you’re the kind of person who rocks high heels every single chance they can get, reconsider the frequency with which you wear ’em. They could be throwing off your alignment and making life miserable for your spine.
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Compressed Or Pinched Nerve
Nerves that run up and down the spine can become compressed for a variety of reasons.
The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of one another and separated by cushioning discs. A , also called a slipped disc or ruptured disc, occurs when some of gel-like center of the disc seeps out, often due to aging or improper body mechanics.
is a narrowing of the spinal column usually due to aging that can cause pressure to build up on nerves.
The is located in the lower back, branching into the buttocks and legs. The nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve often become compressed because of a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. This is called .
Regardless of the cause, compressed nerves are generally treated with:
- pain relievers or
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Fevers Chills And Weight
Patients with a spinal infection usually have localized pain, worse when they are bearing weight or engaged in activity. Pain can be intense, and may be relieved only by laying down. Fever, chills, headache and generalized illness are usually present, but even with advanced infection these symptoms may be subtle or overlooked for some time. If, however, you’ve noticed that you are losing weight, experiencing fatigue and have had fevers, chills or night sweats in addition to your back pain, you should bring this to the attention of your doctor. Severe pain may be caused by simply sitting up or changing positions. If the vertebra is weakened by infection it may collapse, and a deformity may be detected.
Spinal infections usually start somewhere else, and the most frequent causes are urinary tract infections, dental abscesses, pneumonia or any chronic wound. Back pain that starts up while you are being treated for one of these problems deserves a careful look.
Neurological signs should be carefully sought. Patients who initially complain of focal spine pain, followed by progressive radicular pain, weakness and incipient paralysis may have infection within the canal, with development of an epidural abscess.
You’re Using Your Electronic Devices Too Much
You heard me. Too. Much. Phone. Brian Hammond says the way we hunch over our devices â affectionately referred to as “iPosture” â is resulting in bad posture and lower back pain. Young people spend just shy of nine hours a day on electronics, so it’s not surprising that 84 percent of young adults in the UK have backaches that are believed to come from crouching over their phones.
I don’t even want to know exactly how many hours I spend every day in the technology stratosphere, and I’m sure you don’t either. That’s OK, though, as long as we make it a point to put the damn phone down and chill for a while. From the research that’s being done, it looks like our backs could use the break.
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What Doctor Should I See For Back Pain
If your back pain is from a recent strain or mild injury, your primary care doctor can probably help. But if the pain is severe, ongoing, or accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, it may be time to see a back doctor. Start with someone who specializes in nonsurgical treatment for back pain. This can include a physiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopaedic physician assistant. They can evaluate your condition and offer appropriate treatment to help alleviate your pain. Depending on your circumstances, they might also refer you to another type of back specialist — for example, a pain management specialist or spine surgeon.
When To Go To The Doctor
You cant always assume the discomfort is no big deal. If pain lingers for more than a few days or requires regular pain medications, you should be evaluated by your physician, says Leda Ghannad, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rush University Medical Center. Another sign: if the pain limits your abilities in your day-to-day life, like you have to call off work to stay in bed. Following are signs you need to get medical help, pronto.
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Lower Back Pain: How To Tell If Its Muscle
When a patient visits my office with back pain, its my job to uncover the pain generator. We talk through the patients history, discuss their symptoms, and make a determination as to next steps. If need be, I prepare their case to be looked at by a surgeon, but generally, my goal is to help patients avoid surgery and find relief with more conservative measures.
Most cases of back pain are not caused by serious conditions. But its important to always rule out the possibility that a patient has another internal issue that mimics back pain . Colitis, kidney stones, gallbladder issues, vascular problems, or an aneurysm are examples of serious conditions that are capable of causing pain to radiate into the back, making it feel like youre experiencing back pain.
A thorough fact-finding investigation should help determine the cause. When did the pain start? How long did it last? What makes it better or worse? Key to determining the pain generator is the patients description of their condition and their medical history. For example, if a patient describes the pain as having come on suddenly and causing nausea, nearly prompting a trip to the emergency room, then disappearing just as suddenly, they may be suffering from a kidney stone rather than back pain from a spinal condition.
- Muscle pain
- Disc pain
Lets take a look at each type in more detail.
Avoiding Back Pain And Injuries On The Course
As with any type of injury, making sure your body is trained to handle the golf movements is critical if you want to stay healthy and avoid long periods of forced healing.
Preventing injury requires hard work, awareness and an opportunity to prevent the damage from happening again. Abdominal muscles help prevent injuries to the back, keeping your spine healthy, reducing muscle strain and so much more.
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