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Why Does My Back Hurt When I Wake Up?

Dec 20, 2021

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Wake UpAfter a night of restful sleep, you may wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. But you may also notice that despite a comfortable night in your bed, your lower back is in pain and it may be difficult to stand up and start moving about. While this is common, it can also be disconcerting. When this happens more than occasionally or the pain is severe, it may even be a good reason to seek treatment for back pain at a chiropractor.

Causes of Back Pain in the Morning

Why does your back hurt? In most cases, the reason your back may be sore when you first wake up is simple: long periods of rest and decreased blood flow can make the muscles in the back feel stiff. A bit of movement is usually all it takes to alleviate this pain. It may also occur more often when you’ve slept in an odd position. However, if the pain is persistent or occurs every day, it may be a result of more chronic problems like stress and poor posture.

Sleep Environment

Many people don’t realize that even when you sleep, you are assuming a posture. A poor sleep posture can put pressure on your spine, flatting its natural curve and in turn causing back strain and pressure on the joints. This is especially common in people who sleep on their stomachs.

Changing sleep positions can improve not only back pain but also overall spinal health and your sleep quality. Chiropractors recommend sleeping on your side or your back with a pillow beneath the knees. If you must sleep on your stomach, a pillow under your pelvis or lower back can add support.

You may also look at whether your mattress is contributing. Mattresses older than nine years usually need to be replaced for better sleep quality and less back pain.

Underlying Conditions

A range of unrelated problems and conditions can lead to a sore back upon waking up. For example, pregnant women often experience this due to the strain placed on lower back muscles. Disc degeneration and fibromyalgia are also examples of conditions that may worsen back pain in the morning.

Movement for Morning Back Pain

When there is no underlying condition, most morning back pain can be addressed through simple exercises done under the supervision of a doctor or chiropractor. Some examples are included below.

Stretches in Bed

Before you even get out of bed, you can do some simple stretches to make getting up easier. Stay lying on your back and reach your arms as far as you can above your head while stretching your feet in the opposite direction.

Then bring your knees to your chest and hold to stretch your lower back. You may also rock from side to side.

Once you sit up, be sure your feet are firmly on the ground shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms above your head again, then side to side, before standing.


Strong abdominal muscles help relieve strain from your back, and core work can help reduce back pain. In the morning, do a plank by starting facedown on the floor, then curling your toes underneath and keeping your forearms and elbows in line with your wrists. Push off the floor into your upper back, keeping your chin close to your chest.

Hold each plank for 30 seconds while crunching your abs tight. Contract your glutes and thighs. If you’d like, you can repeat.

Movement All Day

In addition to these stretches, it can be helpful to stay active throughout the day. Simple walking can be effective, or if you work at a desk, choosing a standing desk and taking a break every 30 minutes can make a difference in the amount of pressure in your back.

Other Treatment for Back Pain

In addition to movement, you may use over-the-counter medications to deal with occasional instances of back pain. While these offer instant relief and may reduce inflammation, pain medication does not address the underlying cause of your pain and should not be your only method of treatment. Some topical pain treatments like turmeric and essential oils can also be used.

If you are experiencing this pain often or it lasts all day, the best thing to do is reach out to a chiropractor who can help determine the root cause of the issue. At AICA College Park, our team of specialists will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that reduces your pain and addresses any spinal misalignments.


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