Overcoming Morning Back Pain and Stiffness
If you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning because of back pain and stiffness, you are not alone. Ask most health care providers and they will tell you that stiffness in the lower back upon waking up in the morning is one of the most common complaints they hear from their patients.
In almost all cases, waking up to a stiff back does not indicate a serious health issue. However, while such pain is common, it doesn’t mean that it is normal or something that an individual should just have to live with. Thankfully, they won’t have to if they get to the root of the problem.
There are several reasons why you may be waking up with back pain. What follows are some of the most common ones:
Improper spinal mechanics. When some joints in the back stop moving as much as they should, the other joints in the back have to pick up the slack. The joints that are forced to work harder are prone to premature degeneration while the ones that have stopped working will eventually break down because they aren’t getting the nutrients that come with normal activity. Long periods of overall inactivity such as sleeping also leads to swelling around inactive joints and results in even more stiffness.
Muscle Imbalances. In a perfect world, people would use all their muscles evenly throughout the day. However, this is rarely the case. Being overweight, inactivity, lack of core stability, poor posture and sitting for long periods of time lead to what is referred to as lower crossed syndrome. Those suffering from this syndrome will have abnormal stresses on their back and bodies throughout the day and throughout the night, as well. These muscles remain tight all day and become even tighter during sleep.
Sleeping position. Sleeping on your back can contribute to lower back stiffness in the morning. The lower back has a natural curvature and strong muscles that pull and maintain that curvature. When you sleep on your back with your legs straight, your hips are rotated and cause the back to arch. As a result, those muscles shorten and remain shortened through the night causing you to wake up stiff and sore.
Unsupportive mattress. A soft, sagging bed will cause some muscles to tighten and others to overstretch. The right mattress is neither too firm or too soft and instead contours to the shape of your body.
If you have lower back pain and stiffness in the morning, the sooner you see a health care professional such as a chiropractor, the better. While many people hope that their back issues will go away on their own, this is rarely the case. Still others are worried that they have a serious health issue and so avoid medical advice as long as possible.
The fact is, in many cases, back pain and stiffness can be drastically improved or even eliminated without having to undergo invasive medical procedures. For example, correcting your spinal mechanics and muscle imbalances can be achieved through performing corrective exercises. However, it is important that you don’t try to self-diagnose your back problem. At Zurek Chiropractic, we can diagnose your particular back issue and then set you on a course toward recovery-allowing you to rest easy.