Morning Back Pain

If you have chronic back pain, you might feel pain first thing in the morning. Depending on how debilitating the morning back pain is, this chronic condition could be keeping you from feeling positive about the day ahead, and if the pain lasts throughout the day, it could cause you to cancel plans to leave tasks unfinished. Especially if you are athletic and otherwise healthy, a seemingly inexplicable and unsolvable condition can be really frustrating. Many times a trip to the doctor (a smart move when you encounter any unexplained, persistent pain) will result in expensive X-rays that come back with normal results, and alternative methods such as chiropractors, osteopaths and acupuncture may only provide temporary relief, if any at all.

Try Simple Solutions First

If you are otherwise healthy and have no history of specific back problems such as a herniated disc, the first place you should examine as a possible source of your pain is your bed. Is your mattress worn out and old, maybe a hand me down that was never a quality item to begin with? If the answer to this question is yes, then it might be time to start shopping for a new place to rest your head, especially if you tend to notice less pain when you are sleeping elsewhere. Fewer, better, or more supportive pillows may also be in order.

Another sleep factor to consider is your sleeping position; try lying on your back. Sleeping on your stomach is asking for back pain; lying this way causes a forward tilt of the pelvis and the back muscles to shorten slightly. If back sleeping is ineffective, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs. Body pillows work well for this purpose, as do special U shaped pillows designed specifically for reducing pain during nighttime rest.


  • You should first rule out medical causes. If a trip to your primary physician yields nothing but a bill, or he or she prescribes only a pain reliever and provides no long term solutions, you are free to try some of the aforementioned alterative therapies such as acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments; however, morning back pain sufferers report mixed results with these.
  • Regular exercise, if you aren’t already engaged in a routine. If it’s cleared with your physician, you can try yoga, which is known to frequently reduce back pain. Whatever type of activity you commit to, remember to stretch out your back correctly and sufficiently, or you could end up exacerbating your morning back pain.
  • Stretches are a great idea in general. Do some hamstring or hip flexor stretches in the morning if you have a flare up; make sure to hold the stretch for at least 90 seconds. If you spend your days driving or at a desk, take regular stretch breaks and your back will thank you.
Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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