Home Physical Why do I wake up to a stiff spine in the morning?

Why do I wake up to a stiff spine in the morning?


Waking up with a stiff spine is that one annoyance that can ruin your plans for the day – especially when exercise is concerned. If this was scheduled for the first part of your day, then you’re probably feeling inclined to skip it. Find out below why you get spine stiffness and how you can prevent it.

Causes of stiff spine in the morning

Stiffness may come from a bad mattress or sleep position. However, it can also have causes that are purely physical. Lying down for a long time decompresses the spine. The soft discs between the vertebrae collect water during this time. The increased hydration builds more pressure, thus fixating the spine in the given position and making it stiff. It is also possible to experience a stiff back because of weak or tight muscles. Regardless of the cause, this condition will limit your movement and decrease your motivation for the activities ahead.

Should you stretch?

The first impulse when dealing with a stiff spine is to begin to stretch. However, experts claim it’s no good to stretch as you wake up. It can actually cause more harm in that particular situation. Normal movement helps the above-mentioned excess water come out of the vertebral discs and make your spine flexible again. It’s simply a natural process, so allow it to happen. It should take about half an hour. Also, do not bend or rotate your back.

Recommended exercises

It is alright to move your hips. Exercising on the floor while you’re on your all fours is equally recommended. You may as well engage your neck. Try squats as well, including mild variations. Keep your feet at hip width. Do the “standing hip shift”: just stand upright, then raise your legs alternatively, bent your knee and hold it up, without any assistance. To keep your balance, rest your hands on your hips. As you perform the movement, make sure to raise the hip you work with. Thus, the axis of your hips will be an oblique one. Do this exercise slowly and repeat with the other leg and hip. Should you find this too difficult, you may as well perform the exercise while lying on the bed. This is an exercise that ‘unlocks’ your hips and feels like a great relief to the spine, you will see.

Daily activity is extremely important to how your back feels during sleep and in the morning. You should condition your lumbar discs by being active throughout the day; avoid being seated for too long, as this removes the water between spine discs and diminishes its elasticity. Anything you can do to prevent spine compression and ligament shortening will do you good.

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