PTD0315_BackPainMorning back stiffness can stem from a large number of conditions, from the mundane to the exotic. In an otherwise healthy individual, it can simply be the result of fluid accumulation in the spinal disks during the night. This can result in stiffness or pain in the back.

Preventing morning stiffness can be as simple as changing your sleeping habits. Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Try sleeping on your back or your side instead of on your stomach.
  • Choose a pillow that aligns your back more effectively. Feather and memory-foam pillows help keep your neck and back lined up at night.
  • Increase the length and quality of your sleep cycle. Not enough sleep increases the odds of morning stiffness. If you are not getting enough sleep, discuss this with your physician.

Even if you are getting enough sleep and take care of your back and neck, you can still experience morning stiffness. This can come as a result of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia. A recent injury can cause morning stiffness as well. If any of these apply to you, it is well worth the time and effort to see a specialist who can diagnose and treat these conditions.

There are a variety of effective treatments for morning stiffness. Application of heat through a compress or even a hot shower can be very helpful. Other options include cold, ultrasound, soft tissue and joint mobilization, exercise and physical therapy. In the most extreme cases, your physician may recommend surgery.

Discuss with your physician which approach is optimal for your particular circumstances. Then come see us. Based on your symptoms and your goals, we can develop an exercise program that will strengthen back and neck muscles, and increase flexibility and range of motion.

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for morning stiffness. After consulting your physician, we will design a program that can help you get out of bed every morning with little to no pain, ready to face the day.


March PTEDigest Includes:

Stiff Back: Not a Good Way to Start the Day
Taking an Arch Look at Foot Pain
The Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel
“As Seen on TV” Might Not Work for You
Ultrasound: You’ll Like What You Hear

Download PTEDigest for March