Morning Lower Back Pain

Why is your lower back pain worse in the morning?

Morning lower back pain, with the pain easing or decreasing as the day progresses, is most often the result of trigger points or what is known as myofascial pain syndrome.

Probably Not A Pinched Nerve

Pain that is worse with or after rest is often an indication that your back problem is of a muscle origin and not from nerve pressure.

Disc bulging that is pressing on a nerve causing sciatica or a facet syndrome is most often relieved by rest and made worse with activity and as the day goes on... particularly weight bearing activities.

Weight bearing activity will increase the internal disc pressure causing it to bulge outward at its weakened or torn area. The bulge will then compress the lumbar nerve root(s) and will eventually cause pain or a worsening of the sciatica.

That said, most lower back pain is muscular in origin. Good ole' "Arthur" (arthritis) get the blame but most often the culprit is his cousin  “Myo” (myofascitis).

Look For Trigger Points

Trigger points, on the other hand, being muscular have nothing to do with weight bearing.

Trigger points are a chronic conditions which are more painful with stretch and at rest. It is a neurological phenomenon where the nerves are more “aware” or more easily stimulated to signal pain.

Another condition that is often present with this scenario is degenerative disc disease (DDD).

Degenerative disc and joint disease also tends to feel worse with rest or first thing in the morning. If you suffer from these ailments you often find that activity, especially walking can be relieving.

What To Do

If you have morning lower back pain that tends to ease or go away with activity... it is probably a good sign that you need to exercise or move more.

A good approach with this type of back pain that is muscular  in origin and most likely a myofascial pain syndrome (trigger points) is to:

  1. Identify the trigger points.
  2. Treat the trigger points.
  3. Stretch the contracted muscle(s) that harbor the trigger point.
  4. Correct any and all structural deficits and abnormal postures.
  5. Prevent recurrence by regularly engaging in strength, endurance and stretching exercise.
  6. Walk daily.

As always, be sure to have your healthcare provider evaluate you to rule-out any conditions that need expert care.

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