Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down And How To Prevent It?

Back pain is something that has the ability to not only spoil your mood daily but also cause serious harm to your spine if not treated soon. And nighttime back pain, that is back pain when you lie down at night, is a kind of lower back pain problem that does point out to some serious damage caused in your spine.

Do you remember the last time your back did not hurt when you decided to lie down or sleep at night? It must be a while ago, right?

You should know that in the United States of America, at least 3/4th of the population suffers from severe lower back pain (11% of Americans suffer from chronic back pain). In fact, it is one of the most common problems that many Americans go to the doctor to get relief from. Pretty shocking, isn’t it?

But when something is so commonly found, the solution is also pretty easy to find. Be it severe or mild back pain, the condition is quite manageable with proper rest and adequate exercise.

People who are willing to do whatever it takes to figure out the answer to the question, why does my back hurt when I lay down. They will see considerable improvement in their spine in only a few weeks once they incorporate proper rest and exercise into their busy and unhealthy lives.

So let’s learn more about what the condition is, why it’s caused and how to treat it. (Learn more: Why does my lower back hurt so much and what I can do now?)

Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down

What you Should Know Before Reading on

People suffering from back pain in the day are somehow able to make adjustments in their sleeping positions at night or when they lie down in order to get some relief. But when nighttime back pain kicks in, the back hurts only when you lie down and this condition is called nocturnal back pain.

In this case, no matter however you try to adjust your sleeping position, relief is far from reach.

In fact, the pain occurs or gets aggravated only when you lie down. And this means that you might go about your day feeling absolutely no pain in your back but only experience lower back pain after laying down. So getting an entire night’s sleep is nearly impossible in such a case.

3 Scientific Reasons Why Your Back Hurts

Why does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down?

The causes are many so let’s discuss each one of them at length below.

  • Lying Prone or Supine
Why does my back hurt when I lay down

Credit: en.wikipedia.org

When I lay down why does my back hurt? It’s because maybe you’re lying down in the wrong position.

Sleeping in an inappropriate position can have a pretty disastrous impact on your spine. But sometimes even the most basic and correct sleeping positions like sleeping on your stomach (the prone position). Sleeping on your back (the supine position) also can cause back pain that indicates several problems in the spine.

For example, in the prone position, back pain develops when the person is suffering from a herniated disc. Due to the lower back being constantly bent forward or flexed in the prone position, the natural alignment of the disc gets disturbed, resulting in shifting the disc backward. And this inevitably causes severe pain in the back.

On the other hand, in the supine position, back pain originates due to continuous backward bending or relative extension of the spinal cord. And it’s because of this extension that the pain gets aggravated during the night or when you lie down.

And if you’re suffering from facet joint syndrome, the pain might just get worse if you decide to lie down in the supine position.

Sleeping on Floor is Better than Mattress (Back Pain, Sciatica, Pinched Nerve) - Dr Mandell

  • Spinal Cord Injury

Spine injuries like fractures or sprains in the muscles located around the spinal cord may also be the cause of lower back pain at night only.

If you have recently experienced a severe accident or may be a fall, then it’s high likely that your spine might have been subjected to damage in the form of either a sprain or a fracture. So this could be the possible answer to your question, why does my back hurt when I sleep?

  • Diseases

There are many conditions and disorders like scoliosis, spinal stenosis, or curvature of the spinal cord that have the ability to cause lower back pain after laying down.

This kind of pain might not occur during the day when your spinal cord is in the proper active position. It’s only during the night when you have to lie down that your spinal cord tends to relax, often in very uncomfortable or inappropriate sleeping positions.

Other conditions that might give rise to back pain only when you lie down are pregnancy, arthritis, kidney stones, cancer, or endometriosis. But in most cases, it’s due to a herniated disc that you constantly ask the question, when I lay down why does my back hurt?

How to Avoid Lower Back Pain When Laying Down?

There are 2 very effective ways to reduce lower back pain after laying down.

 Sleeping Sideways

Many doctors recommend sleeping on your side (especially left side) to patients suffering from back pain as well as insomnia. In order to make the most of this beneficial sleeping position, keep your hips and knees a little bent.

You should know that during sleeping, your body tends to twist and turn in ways that might cause some discomfort or even damage to your lower back and hip region. So in order to avoid this, it’s best to lie down with a pillow between both your knees.

Why does my back hurt when I lay down

Credit: dailyhealthpost.com

 Sleeping on Your Back

(only if you’re not suffering from any kind of spine injury, disorder, or disease)

For those of you who already experience lower back pain due to spine injury (or surgery) or any spine-related disease (such as a herniated disc.) Sleeping on your back might not be able to bring any relief. In fact, it might cause further damage and aggravate the condition.

But if you’re not suffering from any such conditions, then the best position to sleep on your back is to keep a very soft pillow. Even a towel rolled up below your knees as well as below the natural curve of your spinal cord. What these two helpful elements do is maintain the natural alignment of the spinal cord.

Why does my back hurt when I lay down

Credit: dailyhealthpost.com

Another not so common but effective way to sleep on your back in order to reduce lower back pain at night only is to rest your legs on a chair with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. Your back is straight on the floor while it looks like you’re sitting on a chair. You can’t obviously go to sleep in this position but you can definitely stay in this position when you just want to lie down and not sleep.

Why does my back hurt when I lay down

Credit: familydoctor.org

Best Sleeping Positions to Avoid Lower Back Pain

Why does My Back Hurt When I Sleep? Now you Know the Reason.

When I lay down why does my back hurt is a question that many people ask themselves at one point or another in their lives?

So there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Lower back pain at night only can easily be prevented by incorporating healthy habits such as daily physical exercise, the adequate amount of rest, controlling body weight, and much more. The goal here is to do whatever it takes to prevent back pain from becoming a major threat to your spine.

And if you’ve tried all possible solutions that answer the question, why does my back hurt when I lay down, the next best thing to do is to have your condition evaluated by a medical professional. It is always better to know what the problem is and why it is caused in order to come up with the best possible solution, right?

I hope you enjoyed the article and found it helpful in knowing a little more about your condition. Please feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you think.


1. http://waldegraveclinic.co.uk/how-can-you-prevent-lower-back-pain-when-lying-down/

2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/308479-back-pain-when-lying-flat/

3. http://www.nursingtimes.net/clinical-archive/pain-management/back-pain/1984671.fullarticle

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