Stiff Back in the Morning

Do You Suffer From a Stiff Back in the Morning?

stiff back in the Well welcome to the crowd! A high number of people wake up every day and rather than bouncing out of bed, struggle with a stiff back in the morning that makes getting up painful.

What is the Cause?

There are competing schools of thought on why some people are affected  by stiffness and back pain each morning. Some possible reasons include:

Lack of flexibility in the hips and back

If you bend one of your joints and leave it in that position for an extended period, it will become stiff and hurt when you try to move it.

This is the same thing that you may be doing to your back while sleeping.

If your hip flexors are tight and you lie on your back, the tightness in your hips will pull on your lower back. Over the night this will hurt. Many people have very short hip flexors and sleep on their back . . .

Compression and Flattening of Your Spine

Lack of movement and stretching throughout the day leads to compression and flattening of your spinal discs. This is particularly true if you spend a lot of time sitting. Over time the ligaments tighten. This means that the spine cannot relax properly when you sleep and they are unable to absorb the necessary fluids to regenerate.

An Inflammatory Condition

Many people have an ongoing inflammatory condition that becomes worse after rest (sleeping). After around 8 hours in bed, the inflamed tissues swell and become painful and stiff. When you finally get up and start moving around, the swelling dissipates and you start to regain flexibility.

Your Bed is Too Soft or Too Firm

A bed that is too soft, or too firm, will not correctly support your back.  Your spine needs to stay aligned through the night. If it is not, you will experience a stiff back in the morning.

Your Sleep Habits

Sleeping on your back (particularly on a too soft bed) will mean your back is under tension all night.


If you are dehydrated, you are considerably more likely to experience back pain in general. By morning time, everyone is dehydrated to some extent and it may well be contributing to you waking with a stiff back in the morning.

To Avoid a Stiff Back in the Morning

Despite the possible reasons for your stiff back (as detailed above), it is possible that you are suffering from a combination of factors. Without detailed diagnostic work it is impossible to predict exactly which are impacting your back health. However, all is not lost. A logical way to approach your problem is to do the simple things first. For example:

1. Drink more water and stay hydrated ( yes, you may have to get up during the night!) Link to information on hydration and pain.

2. Have a critical look at you bed. (Link to a good article on choosing a bed.)

3. Stretch. Yoga is great, but so is any gentle, regular stretching programme. (Here is a link to some good stretches.)

4. Don’t sleep on your back.

5. Improve your posture through the day.  (Link to a post of ours on sitting posture.)

6. Get more exercise.

Through a combination of these simple (relatively simple!) actions, it is highly likely that you can at least reduce your stiff back in the morning.

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