Let’s face it, some of us just aren’t morning people. The reason for that varies — sometimes you just want a little extra shut-eye, and other times, it’s because morning presents aches and pains to you that you’d rather avoid.
Do you leap out of bed excited at the thought of experiencing another morning – or do you just lie there, afraid to move because of the pain you’re likely to feel?
Aches and pains are never welcome, and they can start your day off with low spirits when you’re forced to deal with them from your first waking moments.
The good news is you don’t have to keep waking up in pain. Physical therapy can help you to understand why your discomforts are happening and how you can put a stop to them through safe, drug-free methods!
Inflammation and morning pain
If you suffer from generalized aches and pains when you wake up in the morning, you’re not alone. Our bodies build up inflammation in the tissues throughout the day. This can be extremely subtle and you may not notice it, even by the end of the day.
However, when we lie down and go to sleep, the inflammation can thicken and settle into your muscles. This in turn immobilizes your joints and can lead to aches and pains when you wake up. That same process repeats, day after day, and the pain gets worse.
Eventually, chronic pain can set in if you do not make any lifestyle changes to correct the problem. This is why it is a great idea to contact our office for a consultation before the pain leads to more serious health problems.
“Is it my mattress?”
Sometimes the answer to morning pain lies in your mattress — literally. According to Spine Health, “Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause or worsen lower back pain. Lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture, strains muscles, and does not help keep the spine in alignment, all of which contribute to low back pain.
Quality of sleep is sacrificed if a mattress does not match one’s individual preferences. A mattress that provides both comfort and back support can help to reduce low back pain and allow the structures in the spine to rejuvenate during the night.
While the Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every 7 to 10 years, the way you feel in the morning is a better indicator that it’s time to replace your sleep surface.
If your mattress was once comfortable but now seems to be at the root of your aches and pains, it may be time to replace it. Physical changes like injuries, surgery, and weight change can also change your body’s position as you sleep, necessitating a need to start browsing for a new mattress much sooner!
Why does this part of my body hurt in the morning?
Each area of the body is vulnerable to pain in its own way. A few common areas people report feeling pain are as follows:
- Neck pain. Have you ever felt like someone tried to twist your head right off during the night? The problem may be that you may have the wrong kind of pillow for your individual needs! Incorrect head and neck support can leave you with agonizing stiffness. Try a new pillow.
- Back pain. Back pain is very common and can often be the result of a poor mattress, an injury, bad posture during the day, or several other conditions. Pain can afflict any part of your back first thing in the morning. If you can barely move in the morning or never get quite comfortable at night, it’s time to take a look at your mattress and daily movement habits.
- Jaw pain. Does your jaw feel stiff and achy when you wake up in the morning? You may be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw as you sleep, a problem known as bruxism. This habit is associated with emotional and physical stress.
- Hip pain. If the pain you experience in the morning feels like it’s on the outside of the hip and bothers you more at night, bursitis may be the culprit. If you experience hip pain that feels like it’s coming from within the joint and is at its worst upon awakening, suspect osteoarthritis.
- Heel pain. Do you dread getting out of bed in the morning because of the pain you know you’ll feel once your feet hit the floor? If taking those first steps in the morning is torture for your heels, but the pain then recedes as you walk around, you probably have a chronic inflammation of the arches called plantar fasciitis.
How can physical therapy help me?
Some people feel achy when they wake up, some feel achy when they go to sleep. Morning pain and overnight pain are closely related. Issues such as chronic lower back pain may nudge you into wakefulness many times each night, creating a twinge of pain with the tiniest body movement.
By the time you have to get up in the morning, you might feel even more pain than you did when you went to bed, which can often make you want to crawl right back under the covers and go back to sleep.
Thankfully, there’s a solution to your pain: physical therapy. An experienced physical therapist will know how to evaluate your symptoms in detail, see how they correspond to your sleep quality (or lack thereof), and identify the underlying causes.
From there, your therapist can begin the creation of a physical therapy program aimed at eliminating or controlling the causes of your pain. For instance, they might determine that your back needs a firmer or softer mattress, or that your neck could benefit from a contoured cervical pillow.
Other physical therapy treatment modalities can help you strengthen your back, tame bursitis, relieve plantar fasciitis, or control osteoarthritis symptoms.
Are you ready to finally find relief?
From conquering chronic pain sources to improving your quality of sleep, physical therapy can help you ease morning aches and pains in many ways.