What can cause morning back pain?
- Degenerative disc disease
- Getting out of bed improperly
- Overdoing it
- Sleeping posture
- Unsupportive mattress
- When to see a doctor
Waking up with lower back pain can often indicate a problem with a person's sleeping posture, mattress, or pillows. However, morning back pain can sometimes be a symptom of a medical condition.
Waking up with lower back pain can make for a slow start to a person's day. Determining the cause of the pain can help them identify ways to manage the problem and wake up to more pain-free mornings.
In this article, we describe some of the possible causes of waking up with lower back pain and their treatment options. We also cover when to see a doctor.
Degenerative disc disease
A person with degenerative disc disease may wake up with lower back pain.
As a person ages, natural wear and tear of the discs in the spinal cord can lead to the narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal. Doctors refer to this narrowing as spinal arthritis or degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative disc disease can compress the spinal nerves, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility that typically affects the lower back or neck. The pain can range from mild to very severe, and it may radiate to other parts of the body. Symptoms can be worse in the morning and may even interfere with sleep.
Other symptoms of degenerative disc disease can include:
- leg muscle weakness or foot drop
- numbness and tingling in the arms and legs
- pain that may get worse with sitting, lifting, or bending
- pain that improves with walking, moving, or changing position
Treatment options for degenerative disc disease include:
- taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen
- using ice packs and heat packs
- wearing a back brace
- physical therapy
- trying alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or chiropractic therapy
If a person's symptoms are severe, a doctor may recommend surgical approaches, such as disc replacement or spinal fusion.
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