Morning back pain is common for many people suffering from chronic dorsal problems. Many people feel fine when they go to bed, then wake up with pain and stiffness first thing in the morning. The pain might only be in one specific area of the back or it might involve general pain in the neck, back, side, arms or legs. There can be several causes of this problem, depending on the circumstances of the patient’s back condition.
Waking up with pain takes the life right out of anyone, draining inspiration and energy needed for a successful day at work or play. The incidence of morning pain is particularly cruel, since rest is now over and it is time to get up and get going. However, once afflicted by early morning symptoms, most sufferers simply want to go back to bed. I can tell you that my pain is sometimes terrible first thing in the morning and remains so most days for about the first hour I am on my feet.
If a person is healthy and does not have any back ache concerns except for symptoms first thing in the morning, I would start off by examining the bed they are sleeping on. A beat-up mattress that does not give adequate support might cause stiffness and pain. Some people can sleep on almost anything and not have any ill effects. It really depends on the individual. If the bed checks out, then it is time to look elsewhere.
If there is history of a back problem, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis, then that condition will often be blamed for the morning discomfort. The doctor or chiropractor will usually have some explanation of why that particular condition is made worse by your sleeping position.
The usual advice is to get a special pillow, sleep with a cushion in between your knees, sleep on your side or something that basically amounts to helpful guidance, but falling short of a cure. I hate to say it, but it is true. In very few cases do any of these suggestions provide a logical cure for structural back ache. In a few positional-specific pain syndromes, maybe, but any relief that comes to others will likely amount to little more than the placebo effect kicking in and probably will not last long.
Morning symptoms usually affect people who are active. The most common person with early morning back pain is athletic and in good shape. These people are also usually conscientious and success-oriented individuals. They are not machines, but rather emotional and sensitive people, who want to do well in life for themselves and for others. Is that you?
Many instances of morning back pain is caused due to oxygen deprivation. The body usually supplies a lot of oxygen to the muscles, nerves and ligaments during exercise. When the back is fully rested, and especially when lying down, the area receives less oxygen than normal. This is a common phenomenon in distance runners. They often experience leg cramps during the last stages of a race when the muscular oxygen levels are so low as to cause pain.
So why does it hurt when I wake up?
The cause of muscular oxygen deprivation is frequently due to unresolved psychological or emotional issues. These issues have a tendency to cross over from the subconscious to the conscious mind through the power of dreams and heightened subconscious activity inherent to the sleep process. Your subconscious mind uses the morning pain as reassurance that these psychological issues will remain hidden when you wake up. The symptoms are a distraction, if you will.
Sound like science fiction? Well, you are half right. It is science. Scientific medical research has proven the link between the mind and the body. The placebo and nocebo effects have been proven. The overall health of the body is determined by the interactions with the mind.
You can continue to buy those little pillows or maybe start treatment with some powerful pain relief drugs. Is this wise? Well if you want to chance addiction to the drugs, fine. If you don't mind going on the quest for the Holy Grail of perfect mattress/pillow combinations, then fine.
Instead, maybe consider learning more about knowledge therapy. Remember, pain that comes primarily in the morning may not be due to a purely physical problem. It is instead often a physical response to a psychological threat. It is a defense mechanism.
Learn and grow. Learn and heal. Words to live by.
For patients with purely structural pain who have trouble first thing in the morning, there usually is an answer. Make sure to document the exact circumstances which cause, worsen or relieve your pain in the morning. Speak to your doctor and work together to find some potential answers to your pain problem.