Why does your back hurt in the morning?

Have you ever woken up in the morning and experienced back pain? You would be surprised how many people suffer from morning back pain. First you may consider you were sleeping incorrectly, but is that a case? What if the back pain occurs every morning? Is it something serious? Should you be worried?

Studies have shown up to 80% of Americans experiences lower back pain at least once throughout their lives. It’s one of the most common reason people see their doctor. Find out what causes morning back and neck pain and how to prevent them. Dr. Hepler, our spine surgeon in Palm Beach County will explain reasons of  back pain after sleeping and present several steps you can take to ensure you are sleeping correctly to prevent your neck and back from pain.

Here are the most common reasons why people experience lower back pain after sleeping.

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  1. Sleeping positions

You should be aware, the way you sleep is important for your spine. Poor sleeping posture can put pressure on your spine and joints and causing flattening the natural curvature of your spine.

Sleeping on your stomach regularly may cause you back and neck pain. Doctors recommend sleeping on your back or your side. It’s essential to keep your spine in a neutral position. You can also modify your sleep position by using a pillow.

If you sleep on your back, place a pillow beneath your knees, in case you are a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees. That gives your spine extra support and help maintain its natural curves during your sleep. However, if sleeping on your stomach is the only comfortable position for you, then you should place a pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen for support and to relieve pressure off your back.

2. Improper sleeping supplies (bad mattress and pillow)


Despite sleeping on your back, you still wake up with back or neck pain, then you should check your bed set up, such as your mattress and pillow. It is important using the correct mattress, not too soft or not too firm. Using a medium-firm mattress is the best option for your back, as it should support your back.

Additional, do not forget to switch out mattress older than 9-10 years. Research shows that you should replace your mattress at least every 10 years to be sure that your mattress isn’t the cause of your back pain while you sleep. What’s more, a proper mattress can improve sleep quality and reduce stress, as well as reduce back discomfort.  

Another supply that may cause your neck pain after sleeping may be your pillow. How to choose a proper pillow? Whether you sleep on your back, or on your side, make sure to support your neck and keep your head in a neutral position. It means that the pillow should fill the space between your neck and the mattress, but not your shoulders. If you sleep on your side, use a thicker pillow. You might consider to choose a cervical pillow to keep your spine aligned and straight throughout the night.

3. Existing health problems


Despite having a correct sleeping position and proper sleeping equipment, you still experience back pain in the morning? There is a variety of health issues that can cause your morning back pain, including:

  • Disc degeneration; degenerative disc disease generally occurs as a result of aging and wear-and-tear on a spinal disc. This condition can cause intense pain and discomfort, especially in the morning.Treatment includes steroidal injections to relieve pain or pain medication. If you are suffering from disc degeneration, visit our spine surgeon in Delray Beach, who will provide proper treatment and help to ease your back pain.
  • Fibromyalgia; it’s a long-term neurological disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, including pain in your lower back. Fibromyalgia is associated with morning back pain because of the symptoms, such as restless sleep, fatigue that makes pain worse, or tension headaches. Even if there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are other ways, including proper therapy or pain medications, that can help improve sleep and reduce painful symptoms.
  • Inflammatory back pain (IBP): is a relatively rare, and fairly well known condition with no precise definition. This may be caused by certain autoimmune diseases and causing morning stiffness or pain
  • Chronic low-grade inflammation (inflammaging): this inflammation slow but steady increases in chronic inflammation with age.
  • Vitamin D deficiency (osteomalacia): is probably more common than you may think. Lack of vitamin D can cause bone aching, especially in the back, that is worse at night. It can be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Sleeping should be a time to rest and relax and  shouldn’t be painful. If you experience back and/or neck pain every morning, you should find out what causes your discomfort – whether it’s a bad mattress or a medical condition. If you realize your pain becomes worse, consult our spine surgeon in Delray Beach.  

Learn more about Spine Surgeon Palm Beach County

Dr. Hepler is an adult and pediatric orthopedic spine surgeon. He treats all conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, and also provides spinal stenosis treatment in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Additionally, he provides non-operative treatment options, such as pain medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy, as well as operative treatment, including both minimally invasive techniques and complex reconstruction. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.