Most people think that some pain is a natural part of the aging process, but this is a big mistake. Your body will signal pain only when there is a serious problem. The problem is that we rely on experts to solve the pain in a certain part of the body without having to look at the big picture. If you wake up in the morning with low back pain, you may have so-called non-specific low back pain (NSLBP).
Back pain when waking up
One of the first conclusions people draw when they have back pain after sleeping is that they need a new mattress. However, although a very old and clumpy mattress may cause back pain in the morning, buying a new mattress at a high price may not solve your back pain in the morning. In fact, most experts agree that mattresses are rarely the cause of back pain after you sleep.
Most cases of low back pain are marked as “non-specific” because doctors cannot find any evidence of mechanical problems, such as a herniated disc or compressed nerves. Therefore, if you go to an orthopedic doctor for morning back pain, but they cannot find the specific cause, they may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and narcotic pain relievers to treat your symptoms, but medical treatment will not solve your lower back pain and stiffness .
Common causes of back pain in the morning
When considering back pain, it is important to remember that your spine provides a pathway for your nerves as they descend from your brain and branch to all areas of your body. Nerves are usually compressed and stimulated by various factors, sending pain signals back to your brain, indicating that something is wrong.
Some non-mechanical reasons you may wake up from back pain include:
- Chronic inflammation. Persistent inflammation is a serious problem related to metabolic syndrome, which is a group of diseases that includes elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, and heart disease. A recent review of systematic studies found that there is evidence that elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation, is common to patients with acute NSLBP. Adopting a healthy diet and an active lifestyle can reduce and reverse the chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome that can cause morning back pain.
- The figure is out of shape. Just like your car, your body can perform its best function when all parts are adjusted and move in sync. Only one faulty part is needed to make the whole machine malfunction. A recent peer-reviewed article pointed out that a sedentary lifestyle is the main culprit for obesity and inflammation, and causes a series of chemical reactions, which can trigger low back pain. The author recommends regular physical exercise as a preventive measure.
- Low vitamin D levels: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with chronic low back pain and may be a factor in the morning low back pain. A study investigated 68 chronic low back pain patients with vitamin D deficiency, and found that treating them with vitamin D supplements can significantly reduce low back pain and significantly improve function. You can increase vitamin D levels by exposing your skin to the sun for a few minutes each day.
- pressure. Chronic stress triggers a fight or flight response, sending a “go all out” message to your central nervous system. Because your nerves are on high alert, your muscles cannot relax completely, and trying to fall asleep with muscle tension can cause back pain in the morning. Stretching, deep breathing, and a relaxing bath or shower before going to bed can help your muscles relax so you can get a good night’s sleep.
- Myofascial trigger point: The trigger point is a tight knot of muscle or fascial tissue caused by stress or overuse. They can be very painful, especially when located in the lumbar area. When your body is at rest, the trigger points become more excited, causing the morning back pain to gradually disappear as you move around and start a new day. A recent study found that low-frequency shock wave therapy is very effective in reducing back pain caused by myofascial trigger points. Ultrasound guided dry needle is another highly effective treatment method to eliminate trigger points.
- Awkward sleeping position: Sharing a bed with your partner, a child, or one or two furry friends will force you into an awkward sleeping position, causing your spine to misalign and making your back pain worse in the morning. Buying a bigger bed and making some family rules are two remedies you can try to eliminate back pain in the morning.
- Poor sleeping habits. Sleep is essential to overall health. Your body uses your sleep time to repair, rebalance and rejuvenate. Poor sleep habits, such as falling asleep with the TV on, eating and drinking before going to bed, sleeping in a room that is too hot or too bright, and other habits that affect the quality of sleep can cause back pain when you wake up.
Where can I relieve morning back pain
Your body parts will not work independently of each other. Treating only the painful areas without focusing on the overall situation is unlikely to solve your low back pain. Many people have undergone dangerous spinal surgery, but the results are no better than those who choose conservative treatment.
After you change your lifestyle and seek alternative treatments such as chiropractic or physical therapy, surgery should be the last resort for low back pain. Look for a doctor who specializes in comprehensive treatment methods and has a good track record in resolving low back pain.
This information is provided by New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, the premier back pain treatment clinic in New York City. Click this link to learn more about drug-free, non-invasive treatment options for lower back pain in New York City.
- Da Cruz Fernandez, Isabella Maya, etc. “Lower back pain, obesity, and inflammation markers: exercise as a potential treatment.” Journal of Sports Rehabilitation 14.2 (2018): 168.
- Guy, Barbita, etc. “Vitamin D supplementation in patients with chronic low back pain: an open-label, single-arm clinical trial.” Pain Physician 20.1 (2017): E99-E105.
- Morris, Patrick, etc. “A systematic review of the role of inflammatory biomarkers in acute, subacute, and chronic nonspecific low back pain.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disease 21.1 (2020): 1-12.
- Schneider, Rainer. “The effectiveness of myofascial trigger point therapy in patients with chronic back pain is significantly improved when combined with the new, comprehensive, low-frequency shock wave vibration therapy (Cellconnect Impulse): a double-arm, repeated measurement, random, and Practical test of control.” Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation 31.1 (2018): 57-64.