Why Does Your Back Pain Increase When Lying Down? Things To Know

Why Does Your Back Pain Increase When Lying Down? Things To Know

Rest is something that we all crave after a long and tiresome day. However, for some, the supposed comfort of a soft bed becomes a den of discomfort due to an unexpected enemy – back pain. The moment they lie down, it strikes, turning a tranquil night into a sleepless ordeal. Why does this happen? What causes our backs to rebel against us in the stillness of the night? This blog post delves into the reasons behind back pain when lying down, offering insights into possible causes, preventive measures, and coping strategies.

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lie Down?

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lie Down?Back pain when lying down can be due to various reasons. Here are some possible causes:

  • Poor Mattress and Pillow

An unsupportive mattress or pillow can put your neck and back in awkward positions. Further, leading to strain and discomfort.

  • Bad Sleeping Posture

If you sleep in a position that doesn’t maintain the natural curve of your spine, it can result in back pain.

  • Disc Degeneration

Degenerative disc disease can cause chronic or intermittent back pain. The pain can become worse when you’re lying down due to increased pressure on the spine.

  • Spinal Stenosis

This is a condition where the spaces within your spine narrow. That can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. This pressure can worsen when lying down.

This refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. It usually affects one side and can be worse when lying down.

  • Spondylitis

An inflammatory disease that can cause pain and stiffness in the spine. The pain is usually worse after rest or sleep.

  • Muscle or Ligament Strain

Overuse, heavy lifting, or awkward movements can strain the muscles and ligaments in your back, causing back pain when lying down.

  • Kidney Problems

Issues like kidney stones or infections can also cause back pain. And this can sometimes feel worse when you lie down.

Remember, persistent back pain should always be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out serious conditions and to guide treatment. If your back pain is severe, worsening, or associated with other symptoms like fever, weight loss, or neurological symptoms like weakness or numbness, seek medical attention immediately.

How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Serious?

While back pain is a common complaint and is usually not serious, some symptoms could suggest a more serious problem. If you experience any of the following, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention:

  1. Persistent Pain: If your back pain doesn’t improve after a few weeks of home treatment, it may indicate a more serious problem.
  2. Severe Pain: Severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest could be a sign of something more serious.
  3. Pain After a Fall or Injury: If your back pain started after a fall, an accident, or a blow to your back, it’s important to get checked out right away.
  4. Neurological Symptoms: Signs such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs, changes in bowel or bladder function, or severe, continuous abdominal pain can signal a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
  5. Fever: A fever or chills along with back pain can be a sign of an infection.
  6. Unexplained Weight Loss: If you’re losing weight without trying and have back pain, this could indicate a serious medical condition, such as cancer.
  7. Age Over 50: In older adults, back pain can be a sign of a compression fracture or other condition related to osteoporosis.
  8. Night Pain: Back pain that wakes you up at night or is worse when resting may suggest a more serious condition.

Remember, this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you’re ever unsure about your back pain or its severity, it’s always best to seek medical attention.

How Do I Stop My Back Pain When Lying Down?

How Do I Stop My Back Pain When Lying Down?If you’re experiencing back pain when lying down, there are several strategies you can try to alleviate your discomfort:

Invest in a Supportive Mattress and Pillow

The mattress and pillow you use play a significant role in maintaining the alignment of your spine while you sleep. A good mattress will evenly distribute your body weight and align your spine. If a mattress is too soft, it can cause your back to sag into the mattress, causing strain and discomfort. On the other hand, if a mattress is too firm, it may put too much pressure on certain points, leading to discomfort.

Your pillow should also support the natural curve of your neck. When lying on your back, the pillow should support the curve of your neck and not your head alone. When lying on your side, the pillow should be high enough to maintain a straight line from the middle of your ear to your shoulder. Memory foam pillows are often a good choice, as they mold to the shape of your neck, providing optimal support.

Optimal Sleep Position

The position in which you sleep can significantly impact your back pain. If you sleep on your back, use a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. You can also try a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support.

If you’re a side sleeper, draw your knees slightly up towards your chest and place a pillow between your knees. This position can help keep your pelvis, hips, and spine aligned.

Gentle Nighttime Stretching

Gentle stretching before bed can help ease back pain and increase mobility. Some good stretches include:

  1. Knees-to-chest stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull one knee to your chest, while keeping the other foot on the floor, and your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
  2. Child’s pose: This is a gentle yoga pose that can help stretch your lower back. Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Lower your torso between your knees, extending your arms along the floor above your head. Rest in this pose for as long as comfortable.

Physical Activity

Regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your back, abdomen, and legs, all of which support your spine. Strengthening these muscles can help prevent back pain and improve your posture. It’s important to focus on low-impact exercises, like walking, swimming, or cycling, which won’t strain your back. Always remember to warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.

Strength training exercises, like weight lifting, can also help strengthen your core and back muscles. However, it’s crucial to use correct lifting techniques to avoid injury. Speak to a fitness professional or physical therapist to ensure you’re doing these exercises correctly.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Carrying extra weight, particularly around the midsection, can shift your body’s center of gravity. And place additional strain on your back muscles and spine structures. This increased pressure can exacerbate back pain and potentially lead to other health issues, like degenerative disc disease or sciatica. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet and incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can often provide temporary relief for minor back pain. Non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) work by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve) reduce inflammation, which is often a cause of back pain.

However, these medications should be used sparingly, as long-term or frequent use can lead to other health issues like stomach ulcers and liver damage. Always follow the recommended dosage instructions, and consult with a healthcare provider if you find you need these medications frequently or for extended periods.

Heat or Cold Therapy

Heat or Cold TherapyHeat and cold therapy can be beneficial for relieving back pain.

Heat therapy can help stimulate blood flow and soothe stiff joints and muscles. Applying a hot pack or hot water bottle to the affected area, taking a hot bath or shower, or using a heat wrap can help relax muscles and reduce pain. Just be careful to avoid burns – never apply heat directly to the skin, and don’t use heat for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Cold therapy can reduce inflammation and numb pain. Using a cold pack, frozen gel pack, or even a bag of frozen vegetables can provide relief. As with heat therapy, you should never apply a cold pack directly to your skin. Always wrap it in a cloth or towel first, and limit the application to 15 minutes at a time to prevent frostbite.

Remember that these tips might not work for everyone. And they’re not a substitute for professional medical advice. If your back pain is severe or isn’t improving after a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.


In conclusion, experiencing back pain when lying down is a common concern that can significantly affect your quality of life and sleep. However, a multitude of strategies exists to alleviate this discomfort. From investing in a supportive mattress and optimizing your sleep position to engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight, you can take control of your back health.

Yet, it’s crucial to remember that persistent or severe back pain warrants medical attention. As it could indicate a more serious underlying condition. As you incorporate these tips into your routine, may each restful night’s sleep be a testament to your proactive steps toward better back health.

If you’re experiencing Back pain, physical therapy for back pain at PhysioMantra can help: Book an online physical therapy session.