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lower back pain every morning...any ideas?

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I have been having lower back pain almost every night since October.  I go to bed and I am fine...halfway through the night, about 4 hrs in to sleeping, my back starts to hurt.  It hurts to arch it and feels better when I sleep in a fetal position, which stretches it out.

A few months ago I got a leg pillow to align my hips a little better.  It has helped some (the pain does not wake me up in the middle of the night anymore), but I still wake up with it almost every morning.

It causes me to walk hunched over until I get in the shower...then goes away and doesn't reoccur until the next morning.

I thought it was the mattress but I get it no matter where I sleep (my parents' house, boyfriend's house, etc).

Does anyone have any ideas on what it could be?

Edited Jun 24 2015 10:43 by coach_k
Reason: locked to prevent unnecessary zombie and/or spam bumps
13 Replies (last)
It may be something to do with your posture.  Continual pressure on the discs of the spine can cause discomfort.  Would you describe your natural standing/sitting position as round-shouldered and stooped or do you stand with your shoulders back and head up?  Or it could be muscular in origin .... Do you lift heavy things frequently?   Drive a lot? 

You should probably go to see your doctor and ask their advice.   
thanks gi-jane for your reply.

my posture is pretty bad.  i try to consciously stand up straight but forget.  also, i am an editor, and work at a computer or read at my desk all day long.  i don't normally get back pain during the day but i'm afraid that i may be doing some damage by leaning in to the computer, or leaning over reading.

it is getting to the point where i can't get a good night's sleep =(  i am going to call today and try to get an appointment w/ my doctor.  thanks so much.
Doctor sounds like a good plan.   There are upper back braces/supports you can get which might help as well.   Best of luck. 

There are also some back stretches that if you do regularly often help with the kinks by strengthening certain muscles.

Poor strength in deep core muscles of the abdomen and back is a problem that many people have, and invariably leads to low back pain, sciatica, etc. If you haven't done anything specific that injured your back, it's likely that you need to see a physiotherapist for some excercises to strengthen your core and improve mobility in your back. Pilates is a great thing for improving core strength and postural muscles in general, too.

I've had lower back pain since high school (20+ years).  It seems to go away when I'm walking a lot.  I also just got a knee pillow and have used a body pillow for better sleep.  Currently I'm walking for a cardio workout but I've seen pain go away with long strolls. 

I'm also currently doing ab exercises and suck in my gut to help my posture. 

I also have this problem. It started about 7 years ago and got so bad that I had to see a neurologist. He was very informative and explained to me that I had a bulging vertebra. Specifically my lower S1. After months of being in pain he prescribed physical therapy which worked miracles! Now whenever I have a flair up I just do the exercises they taught me and the pain goes away.

My advice is, if you have the time and money (sometimes insurance covers it) try PT.

Get a new mattress if yours is over 10 years old!!!!

A bad mattress can give you lasting issues, so even if you sleep a night or a week at bf's and parent's houses, you may still have issues.

Trust me on this one... I replaced my mattress a few years ago and haven't had a problem since. But it took awhile for my back to get better.

Also, how do you sleep at night? On side or stomach or what? I would recommend that you sleep flat on your back, with as minimum pillows as you can stand (a neck roll would be fine). And while you are in the acute pain phase, try piling up pillows under your lower legs - to prop them up so your back is perfectly flat against the bed.

Yoga was also a godsend for me.

Do you wear heels often?
thank you all for your great suggestions!

these are all great suggestions.  i made an appointment to see my doctor, and i will look in to a PT.  i hope my insurance will cover it!!  my bf also suggested yoga and stretches, particularly before bedtime and in the morning.  this morning it felt ok...a little nagging pain.

i never wear heels.  i used to wear them when i was younger, but even at work now i wear ballet flats.

i sleep on my side because i snore on my back (haha) and keep my bf up.  also, once the pain starts, i cannot lay on my back because it hurts. 

thanks so much everyone.  you have all been a big help!!

mrsdagle:  can you tell me any core excercises that are helping?

As far as PT...mine was prescribed 3x a week at $45 a session.  Insurance covered about 1/2.  Just an fyi.

With the symptoms worse while sleeping it's a good chance that it is muscular.  The knee pillow is a very good idea as is Physical Therapy, hopefully your Dr will refer you.  Back and abdominal strengthening will be of a lot of help.  I take a core class that really has decreased my back pain.  PT will show you exercises that should help a lot.  I also occasionally use a chiropractor when I'm having alot of issues, (but not like the one in the posts yesterday).  If a Chiropractor can not help you in 2-3 visits more than likely that is not the right treatment for you.  As far as insurance coverage, most insurances will cover at least part of the cost of PT or a Chiro.

A common source of back pain can be related to your legs.  I had a similar problem until I started an aggressive leg stretching routine. 

When your hamstrings are tight, they pull on you hips and screw up your posture and your lower back. 

My suggestion is, before you go to the Dr....try doing very aggressive stretching for a week and see if there is improvement. 

Stretch all of your leg muscles, calves, quads and hamstings aggressivly a couple times a day.

Hello notalone,

Did you finally figure out what was going on wiht your back pain? I am in the same situation and am totally frustrated. Its a pain to wake up every morning with a back feels like i cannot lift. My sleeping postures are really good and so is my bed.

For me, I am having this problem after the birth of my daughter. I can't imagine, every night since then, I have spent the same way.

Please let me know if you figured out what was your problem.

Thanks much!!

13 Replies