Why Does My Back Pain Get Worse at Night?

Posted on By Wasserman Chiro
Chiropractic Care for Back Pain

Nighttime is your body’s chance to rest, recover, and get ready for the day ahead. Unfortunately, for people struggling with back pain, bedtime can bring worsened stiffness and discomfort.

In this article, we’ll discuss the possible reasons behind worsened back pain at night – and what can be done about it.

What Causes Nighttime Back Pain?

Nighttime back pain, sometimes referred to as nocturnal back pain, occurs when back pain doesn’t lessen when the patient lies down. In some cases, the pain actually worsens in sleeping positions. The possible causes of this type of back pain include:

  • Degenerative disc disease is a condition that develops when the spinal discs break down from the natural aging process. The vertebral discs are essential to absorb impact in the spine, and when they degenerate, patients tend to experience chronic back pain.
  • Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, can affect the facet joints of the spine. Some patients with osteoarthritis experience worsened pain at night because lying down can cause inflammatory chemicals to build up around the joints, leading to increased stiffness.
  • Nerve compression can result from an array of spinal conditions, including spinal stenosis, herniated disc, and spondylolisthesis. Lying down can increase pressure on the irritated spinal nerves and exacerbate back pain.
  • Muscle spasms in the back often worsen at night. Movement throughout the day can help keep stiff muscles mobile, but at night, a lack of movement can lead to increased stiffness and pain.

What to Do About Back Pain at Night

Thankfully, there are many strategies that you can try to alleviate back pain at night, including:

  • Adjust your sleeping position.

    Try to sleep on your back, ideally with a pillow under the knees. This position keeps the spine aligned and minimizes strain on the spinal structures. Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees is also a good option. Refrain from sleeping on your stomach, which can stress the lumbar spine.

  • Exercise during the day.

    Exercise offers proven benefits for back pain, including improved spinal mobility and muscle strength. It also promotes high-quality sleep. These benefits can help you tackle nighttime back pain.

  • Invest in a better mattress.

    A low-quality mattress could be at the root of your back pain. The older a mattress is, the less support it offers for your spine. Consider investing in a new, medium-firm mattress, which is generally considered ideal for the back.

  • Try a heating pad.

    If muscle tension worsens your back pain at night, consider using a heating pad before going to bed. This increases circulation to the back and helps loosen up tight muscles.

  • Schedule an appointment with a chiropractor.

    Chiropractors specialize in musculoskeletal problems and focus on restoring the alignment of the spine. Through manual adjustments, targeted exercises, and lifestyle recommendations, a chiropractor can help you achieve relief from nighttime back pain.

Dr. Krzeminski at Wasserman Chiropractic offers expert chiropractic care in Coral Springs. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for your nighttime back pain.