Everyone likes waking up feeling refreshed, but for many Americans, they dread getting out of bed in the morning because they know their first few steps will be accompanied by back pain. Morning spinal pain is a common condition, but that doesn’t mean you need to grit your teeth and live with it. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why spine pain can be so common in the morning, and how to prevent and treat it.
Morning spine pain isn’t indicative of one specific condition. A number of different spinal conditions can contribute to pain first thing in the morning. Some of the most common causes of morning spine pain include:
One of the main themes with these conditions is that their symptoms oftentimes get worse with activity, especially after prolonged periods of inactivity. Because of this, your first few movements in the morning after a long night of sleep can trigger pain sensations as new movements in the area agitate an issue. All of the above treatments require individualized attention and different treatment plans, so it’s important that you understand what’s going on in your spine before you attempt some invasive treatments. Rest, controlled activity and strengthening through exercise or physical therapy can be beneficial for all the above conditions, but you still need to ensure these exercises target the right areas. In order to best do this, you should set up an appointment with a spine specialist.
Diagnosing the underlying cause of morning spine pain begins with a meeting with a spine specialist like Dr. Chang. He’ll begin by reviewing your medical history and asking about your symptoms. Then, he’ll conduct a physical exam that may include a few movement tests to see how your body responds to manipulation. From there, he may order an imaging test to pinpoint the exact source and cause of pain.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your spine specialist can walk you through your treatment options. As we mentioned above, a combination of activities like rest, anti-inflammatory medications, exercise, weight loss, improved dietary choices, stretching techniques and physical therapy can all prove beneficial and prevent the need for more invasive treatment. Your doctor can walk you through an individualized treatment plan based on your specific diagnosis and needs.
If more hands-on treatment is necessary, your surgeon may recommend a corticosteroid inject or a minimally invasive decompression procedure. These both have high success rates, but if they can be avoided through non-operative treatment, they will be.
As far as prevention goes, it comes down to making some smart decisions each day and considering some of the treatments we mentioned above. For starters, losing weight and improving your posture throughout the day can work wonders for taking stress off your spine and making it less likely to wake up with morning spine pain. Similarly, improving your sleep situation to achieve more restful sleep can also help your body calm inflammation that can contribute to morning spine pain. You can learn more about achieving quality sleep on this related blog.
Finally, it’s important to realize the role that exercise and activity can have at preventing morning spine pain. Regular exercise and strength training can help supportive structures better handle and disperse stress, and it can combat the onset of bone spurs and osteoarthritis. Maintain an active lifestyle that promotes overall spinal health, and you may find that you’re waking up with less back pain every day.
To help get a handle on your morning spine pain, or for any other spine-related issues, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office to set up an appointment!