Early Morning Back Pain

Updated March 20, 2018

Early morning back pain may be a result of nighttime back pain and stiffness that develop from poor sleeping habits. While most people who experience early morning back pain will find that their symptoms lessen over the course of the day, symptoms that don't improve may suggest a more serious back problem. If this is the case, consult a medical professional to properly diagnose the source of your pain.

Poor Sleep Causes Problems

Your body needs sleep to rest and recuperate from daily activities. If you are not sleeping well, you may develop chronic back pain. It is reported by the National Sleep Foundation that nearly two-thirds of those who report chronic pain are not sleeping well at night. This can lead to stiffness and pain in the morning when you do start your day. The reason is your muscles have not had adequate time to relax and remain stressed in one or more poor positions through the night. Use a body pillow or make sure your spine is supported by placing a pillow under your knees when you sleep.


One of the reasons you may be waking up with back pain in the morning is because of dehydration. This can be from consuming drinks such as alcohol and caffeinated beverages or just not drinking enough water period. When this occurs, your blood thickens and is unable to provide your muscles with the proper oxygen and nutrients it needs. This may create spasms in your back over the course of the night and worsen because the body will respond with inflammation thus increasing stiffness. Make sure you are drinking enough water through the day and try to not consume alcohol or caffeine drinks close to bedtime.

Alleviating Morning Back Pain

If you have nonspecific back pain, meaning pain that has no seen cause, you must keep you spine limber and strong to prevent more serious problems from occurring. While morning back pain can be very strong, you will help reduce the condition with stretching. Programs such as Pilates and yoga will help improve the length of the muscles and tendons. Perform stretches prior to going to sleep to relax the muscles and help them rest more effectively. Light stretching in the morning will also help to warm your back up and shorten the time you experience pain.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The space between your collarbone and your first rib is considered the thoracic outlet. For some sleeping, this area becomes compressed placing pressure on the thoracic nerves and sending sharp pains through your chest and down one or both of your arms along with numbness and tingling. This may be caused by a previous injury that has the thoracic area misaligned or chronic degeneration. You may require physiotherapy to resolve this issue rebalancing the strength and space of the thoracic region. Extreme cases may require surgery.

Increasing Pain

If your pain is increasing in frequency and intensity, consult your doctor to determine if there are specific causes of your pain. You may suffer from osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis or have a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves may be the result of a bone spur, narrowing of the spinal canal or a herniated disc. Whatever the case may be, a specific injury such as these requires medical attention to prevent permanent nerve damage if the pressure becoming more and more problematic. Consult your doctor about treatment options for these conditions.

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About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.