Back pain

Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: June 4, 2020
Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night?

Do you ever wake up in the morning with back pain? are even at times woken up by the pain itself? Many people suffer from such severe discomfort, that they struggle to get up in the morning. There are reasons why this might be happening. But do not fret, there are many exercises and changes you can make to help alleviate this pain. In addition to consulting a doctor, here at OneHOWTO we want to present you with possible reasons of why you are suffering from back pain at night. Additionally, we have some ideas on how you can prevent or ease this pain.

You may also be interested in: How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain or Lumbago
  1. Causes of back pain when sleeping
  2. A bad mattress
  3. A bad pillow
  4. Bad sleeping posture
  5. Pain from sleeping for too long
  6. Lack of exercise and stretching
  7. More reasons why you might be suffering from back pain

Causes of back pain when sleeping

Back pain can be localized or generalized. This discomfort can only occur at night or last throughout the day. For some people, this pain may even worsen throughout the day. However, whatever the symptoms, in order to treat this pain, one needs to know its causes. These causes can be simplified into a list;

  • Your mattress
  • Pillow
  • Your posture
  • Too many hours in bed
  • Getting out of bed
  • Lack of stretching and exercising the body
  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney Stones
  • Endometriosis

So, if you are asking yourself, "Why does my back hurt when I sleep or after I wake up?" It is very likely that it is due to one of the above mentioned reasons. Either way, we recommend consulting your doctor in order to rule out any serious health issues and find the most appropriate solution to treat your specific case.

Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night? - Causes of back pain when sleeping

A bad mattress

Often, the number one culprit of nighttime back pain is your mattress. If your mattress is of poor quality or is not supporting your body properly, it can result in; bad sleeping posture, worn muscles or unnatural spinal alignment. It is very important that you have a mattress which is suitable to your body and not too soft or hard. Both of these extremes can cause muscle strain in the body and therefore should be avoided.

If you believe this is the cause of your discomfort, we suggest buying a new mattress which is suitable to your body structure. It is important to make sure that this new mattress supports your spinal alignment and does not strain your muscles.

A bad pillow

Just like having a bad mattress, using a bad pillow can also cause back pain in bed. If your pillow is the offender, you might find that you are suffering more from upper spinal pain, shoulder or trapezius discomfort.

If your pillow is not holding your neck and head properly or filling the gap between your shoulders, neck and head, then you have a problem. It is important that your pillow is not too thick or too hard. If your pillow is too dense, it could form uneven cervical positioning. On the other hand, your pillow cannot be too thin or soft and will not give your neck sufficient support. Therefore, we suggest finding a suitable pillow for your body. Pillows made of adaptable materials such as latex or viscoelastic are highly recommended.

Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night? - A bad pillow

Bad sleeping posture

If you are suffering from back pain only when sleeping, you will probably find that, other than weak support from your mattress or pillow, it is due to your sleeping posture. This pain will likely be concentrated in a specific area, according to the position in which you slept.

The worst sleeping position for your back is sleeping on your stomach without any pillow support. If you are lying flat on your stomach and only your head is lifted by the pillow, due to the natural shape of your spine, your lumbar will be too arched. This position also forces your neck to remain turned for an elongated amount of time. This unnaturally arched and turned lumbar can result in back or neck pain. The reason for this is that your muscles are strained and are therefore are not given the opportunity to relax.

Best sleeping postures

  • Back: The best position for sleeping is on your back, with your arms at your side. Not only is this position relaxing, but it also relieves any pressure put on your organs. In the case of sleeping on your back, you should ideally place a cushion under the curvature of the knees. This placement corrects the excess curve in the lumbar area.
  • Stomach: If you insist on sleeping face down, in order to rest well and ensure you don’t experience back pain, it is necessary to place a cushion under the belly to correct the forced curve in the lower back. This correction will lessen any unnatural pressure on the spine and organs.
  • Fetal position: We recommend laying on your side with your legs slightly bent, placing a pillow between your knees to match the level of your hips. Do not over-extend or tense in this position as it can cause more back pain. Make sure, if you choose to sleep on your side, that your remain relaxed and as straight-bodied as possible. This position is considered to be very good for pregnant women, as it improves circulation in the body and fetus.

Remember that if you are suffering from any inflammatory back pain, arthritis or are pregnant, we recommend consulting a doctor to find out the best positions for sleeping.

Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night? - Bad sleeping posture

Pain from sleeping for too long

When people oversleep, even if they keep moving, their spine and muscles might stiffen due to long hours laying down. Sometimes if you have slept for a long time, when you get up you will find that you feel stiff and struggle to straighten your back. If this is the case, we recommend stretching slightly as soon as you get up. This stretching will help to; loosen your muscles, relax your spine and increase blood flow.

Unless you truly need to sleep for long hours due to fatigue or insomnia, we suggest avoiding extended sleep time in order to circumvent any discomfort.

Be careful when you get up!

Many people find that they only start suffering from pain once they have woken up. This could be due to the fact that you are getting out of bed incorrectly and jerking your body.

Instead of standing up straight away through a sharp movement, get up slowly and gently from your side. To do this, turn onto your side and support yourself with your hands and arms. Then, use this support to get up slowly until you are sitting on the edge of the bed, from this position you can get up without problems.

Lack of exercise and stretching

If you exercise very little and never stretch, you must understand that your muscles will lack the strength they need to support you. If you don’t stretch and your spine is supported by a weak muscle structure, it will inevitably result in back pain. This pain could be prominent while sleeping and /or awake.

We recommend stretching on a regular basis, especially before going to sleep. In addition, it is advisable to begin doing some exercises to strengthen your back, specifically to form support for your spine. If you are not sure how to do this, we recommend consulting a physiotherapist or personal trainer.

More reasons why you might be suffering from back pain

Other than the above mentioned reasons, there are a couple more causes that could explain why you might be suffering from back pain. For all of these, we suggest consulting a doctor on how you can treat them appropriately in order to decrease back pain:

  • Pregnancy: When you are pregnant many things in your body inevitably change, and due to the extra weight your body now has to carry, it is understandable why you might be experiencing pain when you sleep. This back pain is often caused by the pelvic growth and the pressure this puts on your vena cava (the vein which carries deoxygenated blood to your heart).
  • Kidney Stones: Kidney stones are known to cause severe pain in your side and lower back.
  • Endometriosis: a disease which targets the uterus can often cause pain in the abdomen, lower back or pelvis area. Endometriosis can often cause more severe pain at nighttime.

If your back pain does not subside or in fact worsens, even after trying these tips, do not hesitate to see your doctor as soon as possible.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night?, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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Why Am I Suffering From Back Pain At Night?