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Pain in Back When Lying Down: Hampering Your Sleep?

It’s quite a nuisance when you cannot get a good night’s sleep after a day worth of hard work. It hampers not only your health but also inhibits your productivity, workflow, and motivation for the next day. Such a  condition can cause a multitude of problems in your daily life.

So, what causes pain in back when lying down

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The reason could be a congenital effect that’s slowly curving your spine. It could also be a strain from excess exercise, inflammation, or the body’s response to an infection, or injury. Furthermore, it could even be a manifestation of any underlying systemic condition. 

Keep reading further as we dive deep into its various causes, possible remedies, and overall effects on human life.

Table of Content

The Science Behind Back Pain

back pain when lying down in bed

The vertebral column or the spine of our back is the main support structure to the back. 

It consists of some special bones known as vertebrae, ligaments supporting the joints and their surrounding muscles, and nerves innervating between them and the whole body.

Any abnormality of our body that damages the structures supporting the spine or its surroundings can be attributed to causing back pain in the back when lying down.


The signs of back pain are more or less common and the variation lies mostly in its site of tension.  

Some common signs include:

  • Pain
  • Tightness in the region
  • Headache
  • Tenderness on touching


There can be many causes of back pain when lying down. I’ve listed the common ones below: 

Upper Back Pain When Lying Down:

The upper back involves the region extending from below your neck to your lower vertebrae. Pain here can be localized or it can be associated with pain in the lower or middle back.

A  few common causes of upper back pain when lying down include:

01. Poor Posture:

Lack of proper posture for daily activities such as sleeping, and sitting. 

Improper neck posture while texting on phone can strain your spine and cause pain while lying down.

02. Muscle Strain:

Excessive exercise, weight lifting improperly, performing contact sports for a prolonged period, or carrying heavy backpacks to school, strains the muscles of the back and causes pain.

03. Old Age Complications:

Complications such as arthritis or inflammation in between the joints can cause strain on the bones. 

Also, osteoporosis or gradual thinning of the bones can strain surrounding ligaments, and also the nerves innervating.

04. Congenital Defects:

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves sideways. 

Though not exclusively a congenital defect, most cases of scoliosis grow severe as the child grows in length and the curvature bends more.

Such a condition can increase tension in the back and manifest as a severe form of backache when lying down. 

Along with pain in upper back when lying down, it can also cause pain in lower and middle back from lying.

05. Cancer: 

Bone cancers are very notorious, especially the ones affecting the bones of the spine.

Such cancers can lead to pain in back when lying down.  

06. Disc Prolapse:

Discs between the vertebrae are structures that prevent the friction that is caused by the rubbing action of two vertebrae.

Now, if there is some sort of inflammation from infection or injury the discs would cause increased friction between the vertebrae. This will ultimately cause pain in the back when lying down.

07. Degeneration of Spinal Tissue:

With the advent of age, your spine starts to wear and tear down. Your discs cannot prevent friction like before and your bones lose their density.

Such factors degenerate your spinal tissue and cause an increase in tension in the spinal region. This may cause back pain when lying down.

08. Obesity:

Perhaps the most common cause of pain in back when lying down is increased body fat. 

This excess fat exerts added pressure on the spine when you lie down or engage in any other activities. Such pressure can lead to back pain in any part of the spine.

Lower Back Pain When Lying Down:

Pain in Back When Lying Down

The lower back includes the lumbar region of your back i.e. from lumbar 1 to 5 vertebrae. 

Conditions causing both upper and lower back pain are:

  • Scoliosis
  • Disc Prolapse
  • Infection according to the site
  • Osteoporosis in the bones of the lower back
  • Arthritis pain in the bones of the lower back
  • Degeneration of Spinal Tissue

Conditions causing exclusively lower back pain when lying down:

01. Kidney Stones:

Kidney stones are the formation of calcium masses in your kidneys. Such masses can radiate to other parts of your urinary system eg: bladder, ureter, etc

The stones (if large enough) cause increased resistance in urination, which can cause pain in the lower back.

02. Pregnancy:

It’s common for pregnant women to experience lower back pain due to the increase in the size of the fetus. 

The rising fetus size exerts added pressure on the surrounding blood vessels. 

Also, a rise in hormonal levels and other factors contribute to the development of pain in back when lying down pregnancy.

03. Endometriosis:

This condition occurs in women. It’s a condition in which there’s the presence of endometrial tissue in places outside the endometrium (uterine lining). 

Such excess tissue can release hormones and lead to conditions that cause lower back pain when lying down.

Covid Back Pain:

Back pain has recently been declared one of the signs of the omicron variant of covid. 

A feature of covid back pain is its tendency to form at an abnormal site. The pain also has been found to sustain for a longer period.


pain in back of knee when lying down

Treatment modality for back pain when lying down varies according to the cause behind the pain and the duration of pain. 

A few common remedies, based on the problem include:

01. Musculoskeletal Causes:

If you start experiencing pain in back when lying down after a session of exercise or weight lifting, take primary aids in the form of ice packs, rest, and pain killers.

02. Obesity:

Obesity as mentioned earlier is one of the most common causes of back pain. So, it’s better to reduce weight to get rid of the pain.

03. Pregnancy:

While it’s inevitable to experience lower back pain when lying down in pregnancy, you should aim to reduce the pain as much as possible. 

You can do this by exercising regularly, doing stretches, and taking ice therapy. 

Since pregnancy is a delicate time, remember to consult your doctor before applying any remedy.

04. Surgical Procedures:

Pain resulting from the mass formation, kidney stones, and other such conditions, might require surgery to remove the mass and provide the needed comfort.

It’s necessary, in such conditions, to recognize the problem before it aggravates and get the required treatments.

05. Bad Posture:

With the seemingly addictive behavior of our new generation towards electrical appliances, bad posture and pain in the back are almost a given challenge. 

They should be encouraged to use the appliances for a fixed duration of time, and perform exercise regularly.  If they do develop stiff shoulders, they should be taken to a chiropractor and given the required treatment.


Leading a healthy lifestyle, taking therapy with the increase in age, and getting treatment as early as possible are some of the proven ways to prevent back pain when lying down. 

A few methods include:

01. Proper Diet And Exercise:

Obesity is one of the leading causes of uncomfortable back pain when lying down. 

Proper exercise to strengthen the muscles, and intake of healthy food can help keep your health in check.

02. Therapy Sessions:

Many old-aged people complain of feeling back pain when lying down too much. 

With increasing age, complications such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and weakened bones rise, leading to backache.

While the changes are more or less permanent, it’s better to ensure better motility and relief from pain by undergoing therapy sessions and performing special exercises under expert supervision.

03. Early Response:

It’s critical to undergo treatment as soon you experience the buildup of any lumps, or irregularity in urination. 

The sooner you remove those the better the results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does my lower back hurt when I lie down on my stomach?

As you lie down on your stomach, your spine might shift from its natural position. Such a shift might cause pressure on the nerves and other surrounding structures, causing pain in the lower back.

When should I visit a doctor for my back pain?

A sudden rise in back pain can often be a medical emergency and require immediate care. A few signs of such include:

  • High fever
  • Urinary discomfort
  • Sudden rise in back pain
  • A large amount of weight  loss
  • Severe stomach pain

Can cancer cause back pain when lying down? 

Answer: Cancers tend to metastasize or shift in position. If they make their way to the spine or nerves, it can put pressure on the nerves and cause back pain.

Final Words

Pain in back when lying down is never a welcome sign for all the hard-working individuals trying to rest. 

While in most cases the cause might be a simple strain in the muscles, the high risks from kidney stones and cancers are not to be taken easily.

Hence, don’t take the conditions lightly. 

Get the necessary treatment, remedies, and if needed surgery. Leading a healthy, happy life must come first in all scenarios!

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