Whether you’ve had lower back issues in the past or not, waking up with back stiffness in the morning is almost certainly something you’ve experienced before. We’re talking about the kind of stiffness that gives you back pain when bending forward at the waist or when putting on pants, socks and shoes.
You might also notice that once you’ve been up and active for a half hour or so, had your breakfast and a shower, that your lower back starts to feel more “normal” again.
You may have come to accept your back stiffness as something you just have to deal with each day, or it might even be worsening over time. Either way, feeling “creaky” in the morning is a quite common occurrence and we hear about it often from our patients.
The Top 3 possible causes for your morning back stiffness are:
- You have a low-grade back injury. Even if you haven’t fallen down the stairs recently, your back may have been “insulted” on some level, whether from poor posture, hours of sitting at a computer, an overly ambitious session of yard work, or starting a new exercise program. If you think you may have a back injury and it’s not getting better on its own, see a good sports chiropractor, orthopedist or even a family doctor.
- Your mattress needs to retire. Over time, mattresses lose their ability to support your back throughout the night and can gradually cause you to develop bad sleep postures that can aggravate your lower back. If your mattress is a teenager, it’s definitely at retirement age, but up to 10 years is a safe lifespan for most beds. Choose a mattress that is both relatively firm and comfortable enough for you to sleep on.
- You have arthritis. After the age of 35 or so, consistent morning back stiffness could mean you have arthritis, but don’t panic — it’s not a death sentence. While spinal arthritis typically means your discs start thinning and the bone around your joints starts to thicken (known as bone spurs), getting yourself on a good home rehab plan can make a huge difference in how you feel — both in the morning and throughout your day.
To help combat the onset and progression of osteoarthritis, Dr. Oz recommends taking a daily dose of a natural glucosamine/MSM supplement, to help repair arthritic cartilage. He recommends a supplement company called AdvoCare, who makes a joint support product called “Joint ProMotion”, which can be found in our online store here, if you wish to purchase it: Joint ProMotion from AdvoCare
If you have morning back stiffness, ask yourself this question:
“Compared to a year ago, does my back feel better, worse or about the same?”
If your back stiffness is the same or worse than a year ago (or even a month or two ago), that’s a good indication to get yourself checked out. And don’t be afraid of getting bad news when you go to the doctor! All 3 of the causes of morning stiffness we just discussed have very real, very helpful NON-SURGICAL treatments. We should know. We help patients work through these problems and get back to their active lives all the time.
Sleep is an important time for your body. It’s when you “re-stock the shelves”, replenish your stores and repair the wear & tear from your day. If you’re waking up stiff and sore, chances are you’re not getting the most from your resting hours. Wouldn’t you like to wake up refreshed every morning, feeling warm and flexible?
It could be easier than you think!
Dr. Daniel P. Bockmann