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.