Why Does My Back Hurt When I Wake Up?

Do you often find yourself waking up with lower back pain? If so, you’re not alone!

Some discomfort in the morning is common, so some occasional back pain when sleeping is no reason to panic. However, if lower back pain after sleeping becomes a regular problem that interferes with your daily life, then you’ll want to get some help.

If you are constantly asking, “Why does my back hurt when I wake up?” then we’re here to help you find the answer. Below, we’ll tell you what could be causing your back pain in the morning. We will offer some possible treatment options and tell you when you should call a doctor about your symptoms if you woke up with severe lower back pain today.

Understanding Morning Back Pain

morning back pain

While discomfort in your neck and back may just be part of getting older, regular lower or middle back pain when sleeping can make it harder to get your day started right.

For many people, some general body stiffness after sleeping is normal. Moving is a natural treatment for stiffness. After a good stretch or two, you may be feeling a lot better. This may just be from lying in one position for a prolonged amount of time.

However, moderate to severe middle or lower back pain in the morning doesn’t need to take over your daily routine. Even if it is lower back pain in the morning that goes away, there are ways to prevent this pain altogether. Whether you just woke up with severe lower back pain or you’re noticing an increasing amount of back pain when sleeping, it’s important to take preventative steps to improve your health.

Studies show that back pain can also be linked to negative, downhearted feelings. So reducing lower back pain after sleeping isn’t just a matter of convenience. It can drastically improve your quality of life in general.

The Causes of Back Pain after Sleeping

While movement can help reduce chronic pain, lying still for long periods may increase discomfort and stiffness. While this may explain stiff joints and some aches for people, this is not typically a complete answer for many who woke up with severe lower back pain. Sometimes it can even be sciatica, and you may wonder how many times should I see a chiropractor? 

There are many causes of middle or lower back pain in the morning. Some causes of waking up with lower back pain are simple and easier to remedy. Other causes may be more serious and require medical attention to really address the issue.

Check out these reasons for morning back pain to have the answer to “Why does my back hurt when I wake up?”.

Disc Degeneration

Between each vertebra in your spine, you have a cushion which is known as a disc. The disc protects your vertebrae from touching the others, which would cause severe discomfort.

As we get older, the discs wear down. For some, the level of deterioration in the discs is more severe. This is known as Degenerative Disc Disease.

Whether you have moderate or severe disc degeneration in your spine, this will cause pain for you. It may be particularly more noticeable when you can’t stretch or move. That’s why you’re more likely to notice the symptoms of lower or middle back pain when sleeping.

Sleeping Posture

It’s important to sleep in a position that supports your spine. In the wrong position, your back may be curving.

Resting in a position that puts your spine in an uncomfortable curve or with incorrect pillow placement can harm your spine over time. But when we explain treatment options for back pain when sleeping, we will show what positions may be best for your spine.


If you experience widespread pain, you may be experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that may cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional and mental stress

To know if you have fibromyalgia, you need a diagnosis from a doctor. While not completely curable, there are treatments available to ease the symptoms greatly.

If your fibromyalgia means waking up with lower back pain that interrupts your daily life, there are things you can do to ease your discomfort. Lower and middle back pain when sleeping doesn’t need to be a guarantee!

Ways to Treat Morning Back Pain

Once you know what may be causing your lower back pain in the morning, you can find what the right treatment is for you! Here are some things we recommend for getting started with treating your back pain when sleeping.

Adjust Your Sleeping Habits

Finding the right sleeping position, pillow, or mattress for your body may seem daunting, but it can make a big difference in preventing back pain after sleeping.

Make sure that you find the right posture for your body. This is all about proper alignment so that your spine is supported and curving correctly. Here are some tips for proper alignment:

  • Get a supportive pillow for your neck. A pillow behind your neck should support it so that it follows the natural curve of your spine.
  • Use pillows for weak points. If you’re on your stomach, a pillow under your abdomen can support your spine from sinking. If you’re on your face is up a pillow under your knees can keep you from arching. Pillows don’t just have to be for your neck!
  • Try sleeping on your back. For many people, sleeping in this position may be the best way to keep the spine supported with proper alignment. However, the posture may not be best for everyone, so try different positions to find the best for you!

Correct Posture

We all know that having good posture is good for us. But who knew it could be so important for our long-term health? And who thought about having good posture when you sleep?

It turns out that getting older doesn’t have to mean severe discomfort. In a few cultures around the world, people skip this discomfort altogether due to their correct posture.

If you have lower back pain after sleeping, it might be time to fix your posture! We recommend following a few tips to reduce discomfort, such as:

  • Keep your feet placed firmly on the floor
  • Working in a supportive chair
  • Stretch after long periods of sitting


You don’t need to be a professional yoga instructor to get a good stretch. No matter who you are, stretching is a key part of keeping your body healthy and easing any aches and pains.

This doesn’t need to be too complicated or even take much time out of your day. Just by simply performing a few stretches as soon as you wake up, you can prevent severe lower back pain in the morning that goes away.

We recommend:

  • Stretching straight out. Flex your feet and raise your arms overhead.
  • Bring your knees toward your chest. Cross your knees over while stretching one arm out the opposite way in a T position.
  • Stand tall with arms outstretched and gently move from side to side.

Based on your level of flexibility, feel free to do more or less stretching. Find the stretching routine that works for your body!

Conclusion — When to See a Doctor about Back Pain in the Morning

If you’ve tried various ways of self-care and you’re still experiencing severe morning back pain, it may be time to see a doctor. They can help you find the right medications or physical treatments for your middle or lower back pain after sleeping.

Causes of back pain after sleeping, such as disc degeneration and fibromyalgia, cannot be fixed easily. However, with proper treatment by a licensed doctor, you can ease your symptoms and enjoy your mornings again.

You don’t have to suffer from back pain when sleeping. By finding the right sleeping posture, stretching, and seeking a professional when needed, you can enjoy life without severe morning back pain. If you are in the Sacramento, CA, area and think chiropractic may be the right solution for you, give Sunrise Chiropractic a call today!

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