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What Are Common Causes of Lower Back Pain while Sleeping?

Poor support or sleeping in certain positions can cause back pain and disrupt sleep.
A person with lower back pain.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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Lower back pain while sleeping can stem from a variety of back issues. A previous injury, poor posture, sitting for extended periods of time throughout the day, and even certain sleeping positions can cause pain, which can in turn lead to sleeping issues such as insomnia. While sleeping position is a common cause of lower back pain, activities during the day are more often the cause. A person may get some relief by changing his daily routines and modifying his sleeping habits to better support the spine.

The position in which a person sleeps can lead to stress on the muscles in the lower back, especially if the spine is not supported in its natural position. Lying on the stomach can lead to abnormal positioning of the spine, which will in turn place strain on the muscles surrounding the spine. This will lead to lower back pain, though sleeping on the stomach is not the only position in which this is possible. Just about all positions, in fact, may cause pain if the mattress the person sleeps on is not supportive enough to keep the spine in position or if the mattress is too stiff and does not flex enough to allow the spine to curve naturally.

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Other causes of lower back pain while sleeping have nothing to do with the position in which a person sleeps, though the condition may be exacerbated by it. Daily routines, such as sitting for long periods of time, can cause muscle weakness in the lower back, which can in turn lead to spinal compression. Athletic activities can cause strain on the lower back muscles, and persistent or chronic injuries can cause pain while sleeping. Some back pain is due to overuse of the muscles during physical activity, and a sufficient amount of rest will take care of the problem. Other pains are caused by more serious issues that may require a doctor's consultation to solve.

One way to relieve pain while sleeping includes the person varying his sleeping position during the night. Staying in one position, especially if that position supports the lower back, can help alleviate stress on muscles that are overextended. Placing a pillow underneath the knees while sleeping on the back can also help alleviate pain by helping get the spine in a more ergonomic position. Experimenting with more or fewer pillows under the head and shoulders may also help.

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nextcorrea
Post 2

If you have this problem chronically it is probably advisable to go see a doctor. Back pain is one of the most annoying and persistent problems out there but also very hard to treat, especially by yourself. Getting professional help might be your only option.

backdraft
Post 1

I used to have really bad lower back pain when I would wake up in the morning. I did some research about it online and I read an article suggesting that you stretch out your body and specifically your back before you go to sleep at night. I tried it out and it completely worked.

Now, about 30 minutes before bed, I do about 10 minutes worth of stretching. Most of it has to do with the back but I also do legs, arms and neck. I find that getting my entire body limbered up makes me more relaxed before bed and somehow, I do not completely understand the science, prevents my lower back pain.

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