Have you ever gotten up in the morning and experienced unexpected lower back pain? You’re not alone. Back pain is common, and is often felt first thing in the morning, particularly upon moving from lying down to standing. This pain is usually the result of stiffness from long periods of rest or decreased blood flow from sleeping. After moving around, symptoms usually subside.

While morning back pain can be periodic, some people experience it more often than others. This persistent pain can be caused by a number of issues, including stress, poor posture, and underlying medical conditions.

Sleeping positions

If you notice back pain every the morning, your sleeping posture could be the culprit. Poor sleeping positions can put pressure on your spine, causing its natural curve to flatten. This can also cause back strain and uncomfortable pressure on your joints. If you frequently sleep on your stomach, you may experience back pain more regularly.

Consider changing your sleeping position for better sleep and spine health. Doctors recommend sleeping on your side or on your back with a pillow beneath your knees. If sleeping on your stomach is the only comfortable position for you, place a pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen for support. This helps to take pressure off of your back.

Bad mattress

If poor sleeping posture isn’t the cause of your back pain, it could very well be your mattress. Switching out your old mattresses for a new one can greatly improve your sleep. According to a 2009 study, switching out mattresses older than nine years for newer ones can improve sleep quality, reduce back discomfort, and reduce stress symptoms.

Before choosing your next mattress, don’t be afraid to ask for professional recommendations.

Pregnancy

Back pain during pregnancy is extremely common. Though, women may experience this pain as early as eight weeks into their pregnancy, it’s most likely to become a problem between the fifth and seventh month.

Carrying a child during pregnancy can cause strain on your lower back muscles. After sleeping for a long period of time, this lower back pain can be worse in the morning causing prolonged stiffness and muscle tightness. To reduce pain and discomfort, try stretching and using your legs to stand up rather than putting pressure on your back. If your pain persists, a warm compress may help alleviate discomfort.

Disc degeneration

Degenerative disc disease typically occurs without a major triggering event. It’s a natural result of aging and wear and tear on your body. This age-related condition occurs when spinal discs between your vertebrae begin to deteriorate. This degeneration can cause intense pain and discomfort that may be worse in the morning. In some cases, disc degeneration causes no discomfort.

Treatment includes steroidal injections to relieve pain or pain medication. Your doctor or physical therapist may also suggest wearing a corset or brace for back support.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain. It’s believed that fibromyalgia amplifies pain by affecting how your brain processes pain signals. Though anyone is susceptible to fibromyalgia, it’s more common in women than in men.

Other symptoms associated with this condition include:

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are a number of pain medications available to help improve sleep and reduce painful symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend therapy or counseling to help improve your quality of life and to teach you ways to cope with this disorder.

Morning lower back pain is common. Pain symptoms typically improve within minutes of moving and stretching. However, if you begin to experience discomfort every morning, your pain may be indication of a bad mattress or an underlying medical condition. If you notice worsening pain or other irregular symptoms, consult your doctor to rule out serious medical issues.