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"Why does my back hurt when I first get up in the morning?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy does my back hurt when I first get up in the morning?


I am 56 years old female, have scoliosis and had a spinal fusion for spondylolithesis when I was 12. Most mornings when I first get up, I have to stretch and move slowly until I am limbered up to move. Once I am up and moving for awhile, the pain in the lower back and the stiffness resolves. It takes easily thirty to forty-five minutes before it goes away.


There are many causes for back pain that is worse in the morning which improves as the day goes on and after stretching. As you have a history of spinal surgery in the past, this would be a likely cause of the pain you are having now. After spinal surgery, large surgeries such as those for scoliosis, you can have a lot of scar tissue formation and this can present with stiffness and pain later in life. Another possibility is that there are areas of the spine that may be adjacent to your prior surgeries that are starting to have some degenerative changes. Another possibility is that this is just the normal effects of aging, and that the fact that you had prior spine surgery does not have anything to do with this. It is impossible to evaluate over the internet, and so the best option would be to be evaluated by your primary care doctor, because he or she will be able to assess your medical history, and your presenting complaints and decide upon the appropriate work up. This may include imaging studies or referral to a specialist. They may also be able to provide appropriate medical therapies if there are any available.

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