Why Am I Experiencing Nighttime Back Pain

Source – Amerisleep

Nighttime back pain at night is a unique kind of lower back pain that may signal a severe spinal issue.

People with nocturnal back pain, on the other hand, are unable to obtain the rest they need due to their discomfort.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 17 Dec 2021.

Why Am I Experiencing Nighttime Back Pain

Nighttime back pain at night is a unique kind of lower back pain that may signal a severe spinal issue.

Up to 80% of the population suffers from low back pain at some point in their life. It’s the second most frequent cause for a doctor’s visit. However, as terrible as back pain may be, most cases are treatable, and individuals who receive enough rest and exercise experience significant recovery in a matter of weeks.

People with nocturnal back pain, on the other hand, are unable to obtain the rest they need due to their discomfort.

What Is Nighttime Back Pain?

The majority of individuals with back pain may change their sleeping habits to alleviate their discomfort throughout the day. When a person has nighttime back pain, also known as nocturnal back pain, the discomfort does not go away when they lay down, no matter what modifications they make. Some people’s discomfort worsens. Others report that the discomfort does not begin until they lay down.

A person may spend a whole day without feeling any discomfort. However, they may find it challenging to obtain an entire night’s sleep at night.

What Causes Nocturnal Pain?

The reason for nocturnal back pain isn’t always apparent, much like the source of chronic back pain. Back discomfort may be caused by a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Disc degeneration is the most frequent mechanical issue, but it may also be caused by difficulties with how the spine moves. Discs are shock-absorbing tissues that sit between the vertebrae and may wear out over time.
  • Sprains and fractures, as well as more severe injuries such as a fall or an automobile accident.
  • Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and spinal stenosis, a constriction of the spinal column, are examples of diseases and disorders. Back discomfort may be caused by kidney stones, pregnancy, endometriosis, some cancers, and different types of arthritis.

The individuals in the British research had a high rate of disc degeneration.

Back discomfort may often be challenging to diagnose.

Can Nocturnal Back Pain Be a Sign of Something Serious?

Recommendations for detecting severe spinal health issues include a list of “red flags," including nocturnal back discomfort.

Back discomfort that occurs at night may be a sign of a spinal tumour. It may be a primary tumour that starts in the spine or a metastatic tumour that began elsewhere in the body and progressed to the spine.

Nocturnal back pain may also signify a spinal bone infection (osteomyelitis) or ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a disease in which the spine fuses and becomes immovable.

Other “red flags" include the following:

  • Backache that travels down one or both legs
  • Leg tingling, numbness, or weakness
  • Having no control over your bowels or bladder. 
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fever
  • Spots that feel warm to the touch
  • Weight loss that is not planned or expected.
  • A cancer history
  • Immune system suppression in the past
  • Trauma in the past

If you experience back pain with one or more of these symptoms, visit your doctor immediately once, particularly if you have a history of cancer. If your back discomfort results from a recent injury, you should see a doctor right once.

It’s essential to remember that a tumour, infection, or AS are uncommon causes of nocturnal back pain.


  1. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/nightime-back-pain 
  2. StopPain.org: “How Frequently Does Low Back Pain Occur?"
  3. Harding, I. Spine, September 1, 2005; vol 30: pp 1985-1988.
  4. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, P.A.: “Things that Go Ouch in the Night."
  5. MayoClinic: “Back Pain."
  6. Kramarich, S. Northeast Florida Medicine, Summer 2005; pp 23 – 26
  7. Family Doctor.org: “Low Back Pain"
  8. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Back Pain."
  9. Diagnosis Pro: “Nocturnal Back Pain."
  10. Albert Einstein Healthcare Network: “Frequently Asked Questions: Questions about lower back pain."

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