Why Your Back Can Feel Stiffer In The Morning

This is something that we often hear clients say to us in Midlands Physical Therapy.

“It takes me so long to get going in the morning because my back feels so stiff”


“I have to wake up half an hour earlier every morning to allow my back to loosen out!

Why does this happen?

There are a few possible reasons for this but a lot of the time it can depend on the persons own story.

One of the reasons can be that when you are sleep your muscles, ligaments and joints don’t get shortened and lengthened the way the do when we are awake and moving around. So that first few minutes when you wake up, can take a while for the tissues in your back to loosen out.

Another reason can be down to the synovial fluid in our joints. Synovial fluid acts like 3 in 1 oil. It is there to lubricate your joints where two bones meet and prevents the bones from excessively wearing against each other.

When your are awake and moving, the synovial fluid gets washed around the joint but when you are asleep this doesn’t happen. This is one of reasons why exercise is so good for your joints and the movement and compression you get in your joints from activity helps produce synovial fluid and keeps your joints healthy.

Natural anti-inflammatories

There has been research done lately that has found that your body produces it’s own type of ibuprofen during the day. When we sleep the proteins that produce this ibuprofen are not as active so we wake up we are aware and aches and stiffness and can feel it more.

How you sleep can also influence how you wake up!

The quality of your sleep can have a big influence on how you feel on rising in the morning. If you are a restless sleeper and toss and turn a lot at night and find yourself waking up a lot, then you won’t as fresh in the morning and your body can feel stiff and achy.

Also, if you are are in pain and discomfort going to bed or your mind is very active and is worried or concerned about something, then you will find it hard to get into a restful state and your sleep may be be disrupted.

What can be done to help?

I hope you now realize that we are all prone to aches and stiffness in morning. However, there are a few things that you do to help.

Some light stretching  in the morning can help to loosen out your muscles and joints.

Also getting in movement and activity during the day can help maintain flexibility in your joints and body.

Try and get into a restful state before you go to sleep. Reading can help to take your mind off things and gentle relaxed breathing can relax your body.

Find help with a Discovery Visit

If you are finding you have pain and are not sure what be done to help, then you can book a Free session with a physio to see how they can help.

We offer a few of these each week and you can book by clicking here or alternatively call the clinic on 089 210 2586.

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