Help for Back Pain in the Morning
By Sherwin Nicholson | SN Health Resources | Updated August 29, 2018
My Lower Back Hurts Every Morning. Why? What Can I Do?
Have you reached that point where mornings have now become the biggest problem of the day? Where you may determine how well your day is going to be, is based on how much pain you are feeling the moment you wake up?
Do you even say: ‘If I can just get through this pain, only then can I enjoy the rest of my day’.
Most likely, what you are experiencing every time you wake, now has become a battle. By now, you have reached the point of no longer tolerating it and need more help. That’s what I want to help you with so you can know that it can be fixed.
I lived this struggle too for a very long time (a decade), so I really know what you are going through. I didn’t think there was any help or someone that had the same issue as bad as me. Morning back pain, as that’s what I called it, was a mystery that plagued me for years. But to actually overcome it, takes A LOT of persistence and commitment but it does get better.
What I am not going to do is tell you that you can fix it overnight. You can’t. It’s more complicated than that. You need to carry the same patience and courage that you have right now to your new passion for understanding this mystery.
Understanding and overcoming the mystery begins here. I have outlined key areas to help you to get right to the problem.
Your Chronic Experiences of Morning Pain
For most of us, we usually have recurring symptoms of tightness, stiffness, both dull and sometimes there is a sharp nervous sensation. To add to it, you develop a reduced flexibility and now can’t sleep stationary for very long or move comfortably as soon as you wake.
The symptoms seemingly improve with time, but as usual, inevitably return the next day, sometimes worse than before.
To help resolve issues, you have to understand more about the recurring symptoms.
The Recurring Symptoms
It can feel as though, persistent and recurring, discomfort has become so widely tolerated that we rarely try to get help until other areas of our lives have become badly affected.
The emotional and physical relief at a later time in the day may lead you to think that the problem you have is minor. However, the same unfair, feelings of frustration resurface when the same symptoms reappear the next day. And if you’re like some, the level of discomfort is worse when compared to the previous night because you may have overdone it with your body from the temporary relief.
Any treatment that you might have tried throughout the day for relief now seems to be useless.
This is cycle of the symptoms you cannot allow yourself to be discouraged by.
Tip: Help Prevent your ‘Cycle’ with the Help of this Exercise (before bed and after waking)
When Symptoms Progress
If you only have your symptoms in the morning, you’re one of the lucky ones (so to say). But the pain can persist and progress to the point where yours symptoms remain throughout your entire period of sleep.
Morning pain is actually a repetitive, routine condition of temporary problems. Temporary periods of relief follow intense temporary symptoms.
If you end up resigning yourself to the idea that this is going to be a part of your life, you set yourself up for a possible future of worry and misery. At this point, if you give in, it becomes a difficult task of management.
Common Methods for Pain Management
ensuring comfort through an elaborate set-up of pillows
always readjusting and correcting your body position when sleeping
finding the ideal mattress, pillow top cover, foam cover, etc…
finding the optimal climate with constant adjustment of temperature, humidity, clothing wear, etc…
taking over-the-counter medications and muscle relaxants before bed
The Downside to Symptom/Pain Management
Although the above ideas are helpful, it is important for you to realize that these efforts do not provide lasting comfort, rather they serve only to manage back problems caused by greater structural issues you have.
These management techniques are not a treatment. If it was able to really resolve the problem, it would be regarded as a very easy health problem to have as opposed to one of the most difficult.
– Get the Low Back Pain Program Guide for all exercises –
Some Underlying Causes
These Conditions Require Medical Attention and Treatment
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis
- spinal stenosis
- ruptured disc
- sprained muscle
- facet joint injury
The Most Common Underlying Cause that You Have to Correct
Muscle Imbalances and Guarding
The underlying causes that I indicated above can cause you to have muscle imbalances and guarding. As harmless as these two terms may seem, they are a BIG factor of what is always hurting you. They can even add or worsen some of the very same causes above.
Why it’s an important factor for you to understand and correct
You can’t feel a muscle imbalance. Only when the imbalance hurts you.
It’s like a back spasm. The spasm is actually a muscle imbalance that feels very painful, but it’s trying to protect something else that may be from another muscle imbalance you can’t feel.
The most common form of morning stiffness and pain is due to muscle imbalances and poor conditioning of the muscles themselves. These problems may then lead to disc, vertebrae and joint issues which will hurt even more. A lumbar muscle imbalance area will cause a disc problem which then may put pressure on a nerve. To prevent further injury in that area, the muscles of the lower back will stiffen, tighten or spasm.
This common reaction is known as “muscle guarding.” Here, the muscle spasms and becomes painfully rigid to prevent any further motion. This happens to protect either a nerve, disc or a possible muscle strain or sprain.
Spasms and guards rarely resolve entirely without adequate treatment so you end up ‘locked and twisted’.
Be Wary of Rest and Medication
Rest and medication may help you feel better or even recover well, but because of the guarding the problem is still there. In fact, the area has now created an imbalance as a result of two important causes.
1. Muscles do not naturally return to their previous state of relaxation. Retraining is required.
2. Guarding may not resolve unless the source of the trigger has resolved.
As a result of these issues, you may be worse off although you may feel better.
There is now a second imbalance added along with the first one. For this reason, it is important to deal with the issues that have caused muscle guarding to occur in the first place.
You may feel better throughout the day, but your daily activities are re-injuring an imbalanced area with the potential for further injury within the area presently in a guarded state. Unfortunately, this is part of what you are experiencing whenever you wake.
Note: A muscle may fully relax naturally if there are enough ‘antagonistic’ muscles groups actively counteracting the guarded muscle. However, in the case of lower back pain, there are so many muscles likely to tighten or spasm that the correct antagonistic muscle may not be actively responding.
Muscle guarding creates such a perpetual cycle that causes frequent and recurring pain throughout both the day and night.
To correct these problems, ask yourself:
Why is it better towards the end of the day and then only worse later in the morning?
If it gets better later in the day, shouldn’t the problem be getting better also?
If I am resting the whole night, why would I hurt from it?
If I didn’t do anything to my back, why would it hurt?
I have tried everything possible, but the pain keeps returning, isn’t this a permanent problem?
Is it really the bed that is the problem and not my body at all?
I don’t believe that exercise would help at all. I have tried it. It has the same effect. I still feel sore. Isn’t this true?
Isn’t it true that: Most people have low back problems anyway? Isn’t it just a part of life? Isn’t bed rest the best management?
Specific Questions to Consider Instead (So you can get better)
Is my back better during the day from proper habits or is it the effect of medication? (medicinal or by inhibitory endorphin release throughout the body).
Is it better during the day from proper exercise, or is it due to muscle fatigue and weakness masked as mobility?
When you feel better, is it because the problem muscles and joints are more flexible and mobile, or are other muscle groups merely compensating?
Is my problem from stiffness or tightness of my muscles, joints or both?
Would I be able to pass basic strength, flexibility, endurance and stretching tests now as compared to before it hurt?
If you change your perspective from one of passive pain management applied only when you’re sore, and instead, see this issue as one of active conditioning and protection, relief will be more achievable and likely.
Solving the Problem of Recurring Morning Back Pain
What we commonly misunderstand can cause us to prolong it or even make it worse. Unless we change our assumptions, we may not correct it. We may even believe that it is a new reality we must accept.
The next section will help you to learn what these errors are, and what can be done about it.
This site is dedicated to helping those with recurring back problems.
This Instructional Guide provides much-needed help for this painful and frustrating issue.
Learn how to safely, easily, stretch and strengthen the weak and tight areas of your lumbar spine and hips which hurt while sleeping. Many clients (below) have experienced significant relief.
“I wanted to let you know that your program has made me have unbelievable break throughs and in only two days. I now realize that my pelvis has been tilting behind and up as well as to the right side. Your hip unlocking exercises in particular made me feel something I forgot I could feel. I’m 22 and was having a lot of spinal issues and joint pain which was causing immobilizing suffering but this has already made me have unbelievable relief and hope. You’re a real life saver”
“This book is a lifesaver for anybody with chronic lower back pain. I have suffered for 6-7 years and nothing I tried (physical therapy, yoga, swimming) provides any meaningful lasting relief. Found this book about 10 days ago and have been following the exercises in this book; it is like magic and I have been pain free for the last week. After many years, I am sleeping well at night and wake up energized and ready to take on the day.”