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Frank Gresham, CMTPT
Why Do We Wake With Low Back Pain?
The Chronic Pain Center
. http://www.thechronicpaincenter.com

Why Do We Wake With Low Back Pain?

I know right away what we need to do when a patient tells me they wake up hurting more than when they went to bed. When a new patient comes into my office, I usually find there are a couple of reasons why they have problems with low back pain. A lot of times, it's their sleep position as well as lack of proper stretching for their pain.

Many folks sleep on their stomach or they use a half-side/half-stomach sleep position. These are very bad positions for muscles, and bad positions for back pain. If you are sleeping twisted up all night, how can you expect to stand up straight the next morning?

Stomach sleeping is probably one of the worst positions for you to sleep in because it stretches out the front of the body, the abdominal muscles, shortens the back muscles. You can get back pain and headaches, vertigo, shoulder and neck pain and more when sleeping on your stomach. Once you change your sleeping position to a more neutral side or back position you will reduce the tension in your muscles.

The other sleep position that causes lower back pain is when people sleep on their side in the fetal position. People will sleep with one leg rolled over in front of the other, and that's straining their hip all night. It is better to sleep with your ear, shoulder and hip in alignment. You want your muscles to be relaxed while you sleep so they will be relaxed when you wake. Once you correct your sleep position you won't be in so much pain when you wake up. You will actually be refreshed after making these changes.

The stomach muscle that refers to low back pain is the rectus abdominis. It attaches to the pubic bone and up into the ribs. When the rectus abdominis muscle is shortened, there are two main pain referral patterns.

The first is across the low back, from side to side in the waistline area.

The other one's up higher and goes across the bra line and people get pain up there too when that muscle's short.

This is common with a low back patient. I had a new patient last week and even though I hadn't even worked on him yet I asked him to change his sleep position. I also gave him a heel lift to level out his hips and his pain was gone by 70 percent or 80 percent when I saw him three days later. Find the “why” of your pain, when that's eliminated, your pain can go away within a few short visits.

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