First thing in the morning is the worst time of day for me as I am always in a lot of pain and discomfort when I first get up. Suffering from an acute low back pain first thing in a morning is quite a common complaint and can be caused by a number of conditions.
- Myofascial pain syndrome and/or fibromyalgia: probably extremely common, but more mysterious and controversial. Pain Science explains that there’s likely lots of overlap between these conditions. While FM is more clearly a neurological dysfunction, and MPS is hypothetically a problem with muscle tissue, they seem to cause many of the same symptoms, and each condition probably aggravates the other.
- The most common form of morning stiffness and pain is due to muscle imbalances and poor conditioning of the muscles themselves. These problems may then lead to disc, vertebrae and joint issues which will hurt even more. A lumbar muscle imbalance area will cause a disc problem which then may put pressure on a nerve. To prevent further injury in that area, the muscles of the lower back will stiffen, tighten or spasm. Low Back Program say this common reaction is known as “muscle guarding.” Here, the muscle spasms and becomes painfully rigid to prevent any further motion. This happens to protect either a nerve, disc or a possible muscle strain or sprain.
- The NHS UK say it could be ankylosing spondylitis – this causes pain and stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and improves with movement. Other symptoms are back pain and stiffness, pain and swelling in other parts of the body – caused by inflammation of the joints (arthritis) and inflammation where a tendon joins a bone (enthesitis) and extreme tiredness (fatigue).
- Degenerative Disc Disease is when normal changes that take place in the disks of your spine cause pain.The discs of the spine serve as “cushions” between each vertebral segment. The discs are designed somewhat like a jelly donut. Degeneration (deterioration) of the disc makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rupture), which can lead to localized or radiating pain.
- Vitamin D deficiency can cause subtle widespread pain that may be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. Most notably for the purposes of this article, it can cause bone aching, particularly in the back, that is worse at night (for no clear reason). Naturally, any night pain that doesn’t actually wake you up is often noticed upon waking.
There are other conditions that could cause morning stiffness including trauma to the spine, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and pregnancy. The list above are the most common conditions related to morning stiffness but it is essential that you have a proper diagnosis with your GP of back specialist to find out which condition you are suffering from.
“Being able to walk pain-free is a blessing.
Being able to walk without showing the pain is a skill.”
According to Healthline, there are things you need to know about the Fibromyalga blood test.
Diagnosis, as we all know, can be a lengthy process of ruling out other diseases and medical conditions. This process could even take years for some people. In the past, fibromyalgia hasn’t had a specific diagnostic test.
Blood tests have been used in the past but primarily to rule out other conditions like :_
other conditions a blood test can rule out are :-
- Complete blood count. This test includes a count of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It also tests the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.
- Thyroid hormone tests. These tests measure how well your thyroid is working and can help your doctor diagnose hypothyroidism.
- Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test. This test determines if you have these types of antibodies and can help your doctor diagnose RA.
- C-Reactive protein test. This test looks for a substance produced by the liver that is a marker for inflammation.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate test. This test examines how quickly red blood cells settle in the bottom of a test tube. It can help your doctor diagnose polymyalgia rheumatica.
If these tests are negative for these similar conditions, then your doctor will start looking more at a possible fibromyalgia diagnosis.
THE FIBROMYALGIA BLOOD TEST :-
There have been some promising studies on the possible diagnostic blood test for fibromyalgia. It’s called an FM/a test. The test collects plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in a small sample of your blood. It tests the concentration of cytokines within your blood sample.
Significantly lower levels of cytokines may be an indicator of fibromyalgia. Abnormal levels of cytokines have been linked to being a trait in people with fibromyalgia. Because of this link, researchers are hoping that the FM/a test may prove to be a way to more definitively diagnosis fibromyalgia.
The research that has been done up to this point does show promise that the FM/a test may be able to diagnose fibromyalgia. However, more clinical trials need to be done before this test will be fully recognized as a diagnostic tool for fibromyalgia.
The FM/a test is still new and subject to research. Many doctors may not use it yet, and insurance companies most likely will not cover the cost. However, even with the FM/a test, it’s likely that your doctor will still use the current diagnostic criteria as confirmation.
Unfortunately, this test is only available in the USA and even now five years on from when it was first used the diagnosis it is still not 100% accurate. According to the NHS Tests to check for some of these conditions include urine and blood tests, although you may also have X-rays and other scans. If you’re found to have another condition, you could still have fibromyalgia as well.
The UK criteria for diagnosing Fibromyalgia are :-
- you either have severe pain in three to six different areas of your body, or you have milder pain in seven or more different areas
- your symptoms have stayed at a similar level for at least three months
- no other reason for your symptoms has been found
The extent of the pain used to be assessed by applying gentle pressure to certain “tender points”, where any pain is likely to be at its worst. However, this is less common nowadays.
With so many more people being diagnosed with this condition daily and a stigma still attached to it by some medical practitioners I guess it’s just a case of hoping that a more accurate blood test can soon be available to everyone worldwide and not just in the USA.
TOP FOUR TIPS FOR RELIEVING BACK PAIN:-
- Sleeping position/mattress:-
Being unable to get a good night’s sleep can hurt your body physically and psychologically! Back pain can be one of the key contributing factors to hurting your sleep therefore the importance of sleep is paramount. Studies have shown that back pain and sleep go hand in hand. So what can I do to improve my sleep you may ask…
- Sleeping pattern is key, your body has an internal clock that expects a consistent sleeping time each night. Inconsistent sleeping patterns will disrupt sleep, therefore having a constant sleep schedule will do wonders to your body.
- Diet is also something to keep in mind, the biggest effect comes from the stimulant caffeine which is not surprise to anyone. Just cutting caffeine out of your diet will really help your sleep. Eating a balanced diet can also provide better sleep, excessive amounts of sugar and saturated fat have been found to be detrimental to getting a good night sleep.
- Gentle exercise:-
Improving the strength in your back is very important to long term back pain relief. With light exercise, you can loosen any tightness in the muscles and ease any pain you may be struggling with. Also as you exercise, make sure to not do too much too quickly, this will just inevitably result in injury or burn out.
Start slowly with your exercise, gradually increasing the amount you do each week until it becomes something you want to do rather than a chore. For anyone struggling with lower back pain, the following blog has some really great content around exercise and stretching!
- Back supports:-
A Back support can be a really effective way of dealing with back pain drug free, one for treating back pain and also back pain management for people who have had bad back injuries or accidents. Back supports are great for making every-day tasks easy and pain free by supporting the back, relieving pain, reducing muscle spasms and improving. Most importantly, a back brace gives you more confidence, the added support you need during the day.
Back supports should be used in addition to exercise and other methods of relieving back pain. BackPainHelp have an award winning core range of Back supports all developed with the London Spine Clinic, they all come with a 30 day money back guarantee so you can always try out the products will full confidence.
- Adjusting your Posture:-
Standing properly, standing is very important for your posture! Follow the steps for perfect standing posture:-
- Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
- Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
- Tuck your stomach in.
The company called Back Pain Help is trying to address back pain and provide award winning innovative products designed to reduce back pain and improve posture! They strive to create great products that are made right here in the UK. Back pain help have partnered with the London Spine Clinic to provide excellence in all things back care, ranging from back supports to sit stand desks.
You can prevent back pain by preparing when you know you will be lifting heavy objects. Take some time to inspect the items you will be moving. Test their weight and decide if you will need assistance or if you can lift it yourself.
You can also prepare the items you will be lifting to ensure they are as easy to move as possible. Pack smaller boxes instead of larger ones, disassemble furniture to make it lighter and plan to use a cart or dolly if needed.
Map out a safe route to between the two spots you will be lifting objects between. Ensure there is nothing blocking your path and that there are no tripping hazards or slippery floors.
Stretch your muscles to prepare them for the strenuous activity ahead. A warm-up increases the temperature in your muscles which makes them more pliable, increases your range of motion and reduces your risk for injuries.
When lifting heavy objects two things can lead to injury: overestimating your own strength and underestimating the importance of using proper lifting techniques. Always think before you lift and plan your moves ahead of time.
- Keep a wide base of support: Use your feet as a stable base that will hold your entire body in position during the process. Your feet should be shoulder width apart with one of your feet slightly more forward than the other.
- Keep your chest forward: Ensure that your spine is aligned by keeping your chest forward and your abdominal muscles engaged. Your shoulders should be back and your face straight ahead. Keep your upper back as straight as possible.
- Lift with the legs: Bend your knees, not your back, and squat down to grab the object you will be lifting. Use your leg muscles to lift the object up off of the ground.
- Lead movement with the hips: Be sure you are not twisting your back or extending too far in front of you by leading your movements with your hips. The rest of your body should always face the same way as your hips.
- Keep heavy objects close to your body: Keep items as close to your waist as possible to ensure that the weight is centered and distributed evenly throughout your body. Keeping objects close to you will also help you maintain your balance and ensure your vision is not obstructed. Avoid lifting heavy objects over your head.
- Push objects rather than pull: It’s safer for your back to push heavy items forward than pull them towards you. This way you can use your leg strength to help move objects forward.
A study by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that practicing yoga to prevent or treat back pain was as effective as physical therapy.
If you are experiencing back pain as a result of improper lifting technique or simply want to soothe your back after lifting heavy objects there are simple stretches you can do to help alleviate the pain. While these are technically yoga poses they are approachable.
These stretches are basic and will feel soothing on your muscles rather than strenuous. Here are some stretches for back pain relief.
- Supine Knees to Chest: Lie on your back on a soft yet firm surface (a yoga mat works nicely) with your arms and legs extended. Inhale. As you exhale, pull your knees up to your chest keeping your back on the floor. Stay here a few breaths, then release.
- Supine Spinal Twist: Lie on your back with your arms stretched out and your palms facing the ceiling (in a T position). Raise your right knee and twist so that it crosses over the left side of your body. Keep your shoulders on the floor and relax into this position for a few breaths, then release.
- Cat/Cow Pose: Start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Fingertips should be pointing directly in front of you. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat, exhale as you draw your belly into your spine and round your back to the ceiling. Repeat 10 times slowly, then relax.
- Cobra Stretch: Lie on your stomach, head lifted, with the palms of your hands on the floor and the tops of your feet facing down. Hug your elbows back into your body. Inhale as you begin to straighten your arms to lift the chest off the floor and puff the ribs forward. Try to distribute the bend evenly throughout the entire spine.
- Child’s Pose: Begin on your hands and knees, then exhale as you bring your knees to the floor and your arms outstretched in front of you. Rest your buttocks on your heels and dip your torso between your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor and rest there for a few breaths.
You can view the full infographic here.