Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why do I wake up with neck and back pain every morning?"


I wake up and my neck and back are stiff as a board. Why is this happening to me? I'm a 24 year old lady. Way too young for this.


There are many reasons that you may be having these symptoms related to neck and back pain. Things to consider include whether the bed and pillow that you are sleeping on are the correct firmness to support your neck and back without causing overexertion or strain? Do you have any weakness in your arms or legs associated with this pain? Any numbness or tingling in your arms or legs? The answers to these questions, along with your medical history and clinical exam will help your primary care doctor decide upon the appropriate work up. This may include imaging studies or a referral to a specialist.

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There are many causes for your neck and back pain, and the entire differential diagnosis is beyond the scope of this discussion. Some of the more likely causes could be the position in which you sleep, or if your pillow and bed are too soft or firm. Treatment options to help with the symptoms you are having include ice, heat pads, stretching, physical therapy, NSAIDs, and muscle relaxants amongst others. Of course, it is advisable that you are evaluated by your medical professional who will best be able to decide upon the appropriate work up and treatment options.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.