Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down?

back pain while sleeping

A painful sensation or ache around the back is a common problem experienced by a number of people. The pain could vary from person to person, but it is usually a stabbing, shooting, or burning sensation. If your back hurts when you lay down, then you could find a number of reasons that could cause it.

Experiencing pain when lying down can make it hard to manage sound sleep, especially if it occurs at night time. It can also interfere with your routine activities and daily tasks. The pain is often accompanied by muscle stiffness and limited motion.

What Are The Causes?

If your back hurts when you lay down, then it is extremely important to know about the actual cause of such pain. There are many possible causes of such back pain, but the article talks about the most common ones. Let us go through each of these for a clearer outlook.

1. Strain Or Sprain

Most commonly, the pain around the back area that is experienced while lying down is due to strain in muscles around that area. When the muscles are stretched too far, it could result in strain. It might cause tiny tears in muscles, making them weak.

As a result, the muscles around the spinal area fail to hold the vertebral column in its place. The spinal area becomes less stable and results in pain with changes in posture. Strain can also occur due to rapid changes in movement such as twisting and turning.

2. Alcohol Abuse

If you are an alcohol addict, then the culprit behind back pain is alcohol. Alcohol can cause muscles to spasm. In addition, it can make your body dehydrated. If you are a heavy drinker, then your muscles are at high risk of dehydration which eventually makes them weak. Resultantly you experience back pain while lying down.

Seeking out quality treatment can help you unwind the harmful effects of alcoholism on your health. You may even make use of a drug rehab helpline in order to contact specialists. They might ask several questions and figure out the best treatment option that fulfils your needs.

3. Spinal Osteoarthritis

The degeneration of vertebral bones can also be the possible cause of pain when you lay down. Wear and tear around the joints and friction can cause inflammation around the area. It not only results in muscle stiffness but also causes pain. Due to inflammation, the nerves can signal the muscles around the back area to go spasm.

4. Sciatica

Back pain that occurs due to sciatica nerve is known as sciatica pain. The sciatica is a large nerve that runs through the whole vertebral column. The back pain that occurs due to the sciatica nerve also runs down towards the legs. Some specific sleeping positions can trigger sciatica pain as it presses the nerve running in the vertebral column.

5. Spinal Stenosis

Due to the outgrowth of vertebrae and ligaments, the spinal column gets narrower. This can press down the nerve running inside the vertebral column and result in back pain. Normally it tends to occur with osteoarthritis.

When To See Physician?

It is always a better approach to consult your doctor before adopting any type of coping strategy. Immediately contact your doctor and get a proper diagnosis in the following cases

  • Specific injury leading to back pain
  • Difficulty occurs to manage sleep
  • Remains persistent for a longer duration
  • Is severe
  • Shoots towards legs
  • Is accompanied with heat, redness, and swelling
  • Is accompanied with tingling, numbness and weakness

Your doctor might prescribe you some pain medications. He might even ask you to bring some changes to your lifestyle. Your doctor could recommend you to do light exercise. In case there is some serious problem, then he might refer you to a specialist.


Treatments can range from medication physiotherapy to pain remedies. The treatment you might get all depends upon the pain-causing factors. However, the commonly used treatment options are

  • Hot or cold compress
  • OTC pain management medications
  • Mild stretches
  • Light exercise
  • Physiotherapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Epidurals, medications directly injected into the spine

In some rare cases, your doctor might even conduct surgery. Patients are also encouraged to take Massage Therapy in order to ease away pain.

Coping Strategies

Coping strategies entail a healthy lifestyle that works well in order to keep back healthy and pain-free. Despite a healthy lifestyle, many times, the conditions make the pain inevitable. In such cases, one can make use of several coping strategies to prevent it from getting worse.

  • Maintain good posture
  • Thrive for healthy body weight
  • Avoid jerky movements
  • Avoid heavy weightlifting (as it causes a strain around back muscles)
  • Quit smoking (studies suggest that it can lead to chronic back pain)
  • Make use of ergonomics chair to ensure back comfort at home and even in the office
  • Make use of comfy and supportive shoes

How To Improve Sleep Quality?

As soon as a person gets on the bed, the setting of pain can make it very hard to sustain quality sleep. A big question is what a person can do to improve sleep quality. Experts recommend some key measures that help improve sleep and deal with back pain simultaneously.

  • Find yourself a sleeping position that supports your back and make it easier for you to sleep without any trouble
  • Find yourself a mattress that supports your spine and helps to keep it aligned.
  • You can even make use of pillows to support your body and also ease the strain in the back
  • You may even think about acupuncture therapy, as it is very useful in getting some relief in pain

Take Away

Back pain when lying down can be very frustrating. The pain becomes unbearable, especially if it keeps you from sleeping. It can become even more troublesome by opening up a range of sleep-related health issues. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.