ZocdocAnswersHow can I get rid of pain in the back after sleeping?

Question

How can I get rid of pain in the back after sleeping?

A few days ago I had slept in a weird position on a very uncomfortable surface and experienced pain in my back and left arm as a result. Since then, I have been very careful about my sleeping position and have purchased an entirely different mattress. I have done some stretches at home and have even taken anti-inflammatory supplements to provide relief, but it only helped me temporarily, as the pain seems to continue to come back every day. Do I just need to wait out this pain and allow it to release itself in time, or is it a sign of muscle or joint strain? Is there any way that I can provide relief naturally without the use of drugs or having to resort to expensive therapies? I am currently seeking any option that will help.

Answer

It sounds like your unusual sleeping position has done a number on your back! Hopefully you can be back to normal soon. In your situation, the best thing to do is to start with your primary care physician for a thorough musculoskeletal and neurologic exam. It sounds like you may have developed some acute muscle strain and imbalance, but it will be important to ensure that you don't have any underlying neurologic deficits or other warning signs that you might need more urgent imaging or specialist evaluation. However, it does sound more likely that you do have some muscles that are strained from being stretched in an uncomfortable way. In that situation it may be helpful to continue with anti-inflammatory medication or possible even some muscle relaxers for a short time at night when you sleep. However, what is likely to be even more helpful--and doesn't involve any drugs at all!--is evaluation with a physical therapist which your primary care physician can arrange. A good therapist will be able to do a thorough musculoskeletal exam and help identify which muscles or muscle groups are most out of alignment or tight and then help you develop a stretching and strengthening regimen to help fix this.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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